PSAT Writing : Deleting Content

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for PSAT Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Deleting Content

1) For hundreds of years, July 4, 1776, has been revered as a defining moment in America's history. 2) Aptly named Independence Day, July 4 is remembered as the day that the Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence. 3) This document officially announced Congress's resolution to separate from Great Britain. 4) Every year on July 4, my family likes to grill hot dogs and watch fireworks. 5) Though there is some dispute about whether or not the document was actually signed on this day, Americans will likely continue observing July 4, 1776, as their nation's birthday. 

Which sentence should be deleted to make this a cohesive paragraph?

Possible Answers:

This document officially announced Congress's resolution to separate from Great Britain. 

Aptly named Independence Day, July 4 is remembered as the day that the Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence.

Though there is some dispute about whether or not the document was actually signed on this day, Americans will likely continue observing July 4, 1776, as their nation's birthday.

 For hundreds of years, July 4, 1776, has been revered as a defining moment in America's history.

Every year on July 4, my family likes to grill hot dogs and watch fireworks. 

Correct answer:

Every year on July 4, my family likes to grill hot dogs and watch fireworks. 

Explanation:

The tone of this paragraph is historical and informational. The goal of the paragraph is to inform the reader of the origins of the July 4 holiday, not to make an argument or claim, or to give personal information. The informal sentence, "Every year on July 4, my family likes to grill hot dogs and watch fireworks," (Sentence 4) tells about personal family traditions, which does not fit with the goal or tone of the paragraph.

Example Question #4 : Inserting Or Deleting Content

The following is an excerpt from a draft of the final paragraph of an essay arguing that the character Quasimodo in Victor Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1831) is a tragic hero

 (1) The Hunchback of Notre Dame follows the pattern of a tragedy quite closely. (2) It contains a tragic hero with a flaw that brought him to his own misery and death. (3) As with other tragedies, Quasimodo’s misfortunes are largely accredited to God, the universe, or whatever caused him to be born so ugly. (4) There is no story form so universally appreciated and timeless as the tragedy. (5) Because of Quasimodo’s rise and fall as a tragic hero, Victor Hugo’s novel can absolutely be considered a tragedy. 

Which sentence, if any, is extraneous and can be deleted to improve the paragraph?

Possible Answers:

Sentence 3

Sentence 1

Sentence 2

Sentence 5

Sentence 4

Correct answer:

Sentence 4

Explanation:

Sentence 4 is the only option that is not on the topic of proving that Quasimodo is a tragic hero. It is an extraneous, broad-sweeping statement that does not add anything to the paragraph.

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