PSAT Writing : Graph Interpretation

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for PSAT Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Graph Interpretation

The public’s perception of archaeologists has, for years, been colored by depictions of the profession in movie franchises like Indiana JonesTomb Raider, and The Mummy. However popular these movies are, they– like movies that depict any other profession – don’t necessarily reflect what archaeologists actually do. While fighting supernatural forces and foiling nefarious plans does make for a better movie, the primary work of archaeology is in research and preservation

The traditional view of archaeologists usually involves a college professor who spends much of his or her time digging and researching in ancient foreign libraries or a museum curator who works every day to preserve the artifacts the museum holds. While this view isn’t completely incorrect, it is incomplete, both in terms of the types of jobs available to archaeologists and in terms of the types of work within those jobs. For example, college professors may spend summers at dig sites, but much of their time is also spent writing grants, teaching students, and writing about their research projects. Additionally, although there are still many people who work in archaeology as professors and museum curators, the demand for these job far outstrips the number of positions available, making the positions difficult to acquire.

[1] The job of CRM archaeologists is to identify the potential cultural significance of a site and then document and preserve any artifacts of historical or cultural significance. [2] The surplus of people who want to work in archaeology has meant that the majority of archaeologists aren’t employed by universities or museums, but by construction companies and the government. 1 [3] Most archaeology positions in today’s economy are for what are referred to as a “cultural resource management” archaeologists, or CRM archaeologists, who are often involved in building projects as representatives of the state, Native American tribes, and historical societies. [4] While part of this analysis might involve starting a dig at the site in question to find relevant artifacts, much of this research process requires CRM archaeologists to consult historical records and talk to members of the community where the building process has been proposed. 

 

At this point, the author is considering inserting the following graph.

Screen shot 2019 11 28 at 9.48.02 am

Should the author make this addition here?

Possible Answers:

No, because it adds information not directly related to the role of archaeologists.

No, because it does not give information on the number of archaeology positions available.

Yes, because it gives data to support a claim made in the passage.

Yes, because it supports the claim that archaeology is important in local government decisions.

Correct answer:

Yes, because it gives data to support a claim made in the passage.

Explanation:

Although this question asks about a graph, it is useful to treat it like you would any other question that asks you whether you should add information. Look at the reasoning behind each answer choice (what follows the "yes" or the "no") and eliminate based on that before you make the decision about whether or not the graph should be included. This often simplifies your choice immensely. "Yes, because it gives data to support a claim made in the passage." reasoning is valid since the claim it supports in the passage is that most archaeologists work for the government or for construction companies rather than for universities. "Yes, because it supports the claim that archaeology is important in local government decisions." can be eliminated because even though the graph shows that almost 20% of archaeologists work in local government it does not show their impact on policy decisions. "No, because it adds information not directly related to the role of archaeologists." can also be eliminated because the graph does offer information about the different roles archaeologists can have. And while "No, because it does not give information on the number of archaeology positions available." reasoning is correct, the passage itself isn't concerned with the total number of roles at this point in the passage, but rather is concerned with how those roles are distributed. "Yes, because it gives data to support a claim made in the passage." is correct.

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