PSAT Writing : Adding & Deleting Sentences

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for PSAT Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #128 : New Sat Writing And Language

One of the most influential niche constructors is the earthworm, an organism found almost everywhere on the planet. 1 A scientist only concerned with evolution would predict that, in order to live on land, earthworms would have to significantly change. Earthworms didn’t change their physiology a great  amount, however, instead, they changed the soil to make it more like the ocean in order to survive. Land with earthworms is less compacted, is more nutrient rich, and better mixed than land without them – leading to monumental changes in the ecosystem.

The author is considering adding the following sentence.

Earthworms were originally aquatic organisms that were ill-equipped to survive on land.

Should the author make this addition?

Possible Answers:
Yes, because it explains the prediction made in the next sentence.

No, because it distracts from the discussion on niche construction. 

Yes, because it adds information about the roles of earthworms as niche creators.

No, because the author does not further address why this fact is important.

Correct answer:
Yes, because it explains the prediction made in the next sentence.
Explanation:

Whenever the SAT gives you answer choices in the form of "yes/no because", you should turn your attention to the reasoning given for each answer choice since it's easier to determine whether the reason is correct than it is to determine whether or not the sentence should be included. "Yes, because it explains the prediction made in the next sentence." correctly states that the sentence explains why the prediction in the next sentence is there. "Yes, because it adds information about the roles of earthworms as niche creators." can be eliminated because the sentence does not explain the role of earthworms as niche creators. "No, because it distracts from the discussion on niche construction. " can be eliminated because it doesn't distract from the discussion of niche construction since it talks about why earthworms need to be niche constructors. "No, because the author does not further address why this fact is important." can be eliminated because the next sentence does explain why this fact is important.

Example Question #129 : New Sat Writing And Language

For thousands of years, cooking was considered more of a practice than a science. Much of what chefs and food scientists alike knew about cooking came from conventional wisdom rather than carefully designed research. For individuals who considered cooking to be an art rather than a science, this seemed to be for the best; however, for physicist Nicholas Kurti and chemist Herve This, the lack on empirical knowledge around what we eat was not just an affront to science. It was a challenge. In 1988 the pair coined the term “molecular gastronomy,” which they defined as the investigation of the physical and chemical transformation that ingredients undergo during the course of cooking. They argued that if chefs understood these processes, they could produce dishes improved by the findings. 1

At this point, the author is considering adding the following sentence.

"The pair’s philosophy came from the Enlightenment thinkers of the 18th century, who believed that everything could be categorized and systematized."

Should the author make this addition here?

Possible Answers:

Yes, because it explains the origin of the phrase “molecular gastronomy”.

No, because it is not relevant to the focus of the paragraph.

Yes, because it reinforces a claim that is made earlier in the paragraph.

No, because it distracts from the paragraph’s focus on early experiments in molecular gastronomy.

Correct answer:

No, because it is not relevant to the focus of the paragraph.

Explanation:

For questions with answers that lead with "Yes/Yes/No/No," it is often easier to look at the reasoning rather than at whether or not the sentence should be included since it is easier to eliminate answer choices based on reasoning that is incorrect rather than whether the sentence belongs. "Yes, because it explains the origin of the phrase “molecular gastronomy”." can be eliminated because the sentence does not explain the origin of the phrase "molecular gastronomy". "Yes, because it reinforces a claim that is made earlier in the paragraph." can be eliminated because it does not address a claim made earlier in the paragraph. "No, because it is not relevant to the focus of the paragraph." is true - this sentence is not relevant to the main focus of the paragraph. "No, because it distracts from the paragraph’s focus on early experiments in molecular gastronomy." can be eliminated because this paragraph does not discuss earlier experiments in molecular gastronomy.

Example Question #2 : Adding And Deleting Sentences

The Sagrada Familia has stood, incomplete, as part of the Barcelona skyline since the early phases of its construction in 1882. The project, originally intended to be a cathedral in the gothic style, was begun by the bookseller Joseph Maria Bocabella under the direction of the architect Francisco de Paula del Villar. Del Villar and Bocabella imagined a basilica modeled on the Gothic revival churches Bocabella had seen on trips to Italy. However, Bocabella’s ideal basilica never came to be. In 1883 del Villar resigned from the project, and 30-year old Antoni Gaudi, a young but already well-known architect from Catalonia, took over as lead architect.

Gaudi decided to depart from del Villar’s original Gothic design in favor of a more modern design. The new design was ambitious, featuring eighteen tall spires and four different facades on different sides of the basilica. But work on the new building was slow. Decades passed, and the work was still incomplete. In 1915, Gaudi - now 63 years old - abandoned all other work in favor of dedicating himself to the completion of the monumental church, but progress on the building was still slow. When pressured to speed up work on the monumental building, Gaudi was said to have replied, “My client is not in a hurry.” By the time Gaudi died in 1926, the basilica was only somewhere between 15 and 20 percent complete. 

After Gaudi’s death, work stalled between 1936 and 1940 when Civil War broke out in Spain and again as World War II began, leaving the project years behind schedule. During the wars, Catalan anarchists destroyed part of the basilica and the models and designs Gaudi left for the builders, who were forced to reconstruct what plans they could, an arduous and time-consuming process. It took years for the project to get back on track; once it was, it was impossible to know whether additional construction would match Gaudi’s vision.

The Sagrada Familia, one of the most iconic structures in Barcelona, remains unfinished, a constant work-in-progress in the Barcelona skyline. Despite these setbacks, it is open to the public for both religious services and tourism, attracting over three million visitors a year. In fact, tourist entrance fees now pay for annual construction costs. 1

 

At this point, the author is considering adding the following sentence.

“Architects estimate that the building is now 70 percent complete and that the structure itself should be finished by 2026, one hundred years after Gaudi’s death."

Should the author make this addition here?

Possible Answers:

No, because it distracts from the paragraph’s emphasis on construction costs.

No, because it is irrelevant to the main idea of the passage.

Yes, because it provides a conclusion that relates to the information given earlier in the passage.

Yes, because it provides a conclusion that reminds readers of the grandeur of the Sagrada Familia.

Correct answer:

Yes, because it provides a conclusion that relates to the information given earlier in the passage.

Explanation:

One of the best ways to deal with questions that give you the options Yes/Yes/No/No in the answer choices is to ignore the "yes" or "no " question and instead focus on the information that comes after the comma. Determining whether the reasoning is solid is often easier than deciding whether or not a particular sentence should be included. "Yes, because it provides a conclusion that relates to the information given earlier in the passage."  correctly states that it provides a conclusion (it is the last sentence) that relates to information given in the passage (that the Sagrada Familia is still unfinished and has been behind schedule since the start). This is the correct answer.

Among the other answers, "yes, because it provides a conclusion that reminds readers of the grandeur of the Sagrada Familia" can be eliminated because there is nothing in this sentence that relates to the grandeur of the Sagrada Familia. "No, because it distracts from the paragraph’s emphasis on construction costs" can be eliminated because the paragraph doesn't talk about construction costs. And "no, because it is irrelevant to the main idea of the passage" can be eliminated because the sentence does relate to the main idea of the passage since it talks about the length of time needed to finish the project.

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