PSAT Writing : Improving and Correcting Sentences

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for PSAT Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Rewriting A Sentence Fragment

The plot of modern political television usually revolves around several key themes. First, there is a political conflict at the national level between major parties. Second, there are emotional and practical concerns related to office politics; furthermore, there are a number of subplots that usually have to do with local politics and tit-for-tat agreements. Finally, things resolve themselves later on in the show because much television just works itself out.

 

Pick an appropriate revision for the underlined phrase below, taken from the first sentence in the passage: 

The plot of modern political television usually revolves around several key themes.

Possible Answers:

No change

many key themes

around nothing substantive

around several comedic and dramatic tropes that matter greatly

around ideas that surprise audiences

Correct answer:

No change

Explanation:

The phrasing offered here is good, useful, and direct. This opening thesis statement does not need to be complicated; "around nothing substantive" changes the meaning of the sentence; "many key themes" introduces a grammatical error, changing the verb "revolves" from instransitive to transitive; "around several comedic and dramatic tropes that matter greatly" is prolix (wordy); "around ideas that surprise audiences" again changes the intended meaning, as key themes need not be surprising.

Example Question #1 : Revising Word Choice, Style, And Tone

       (1) Kabuki performances first appeared in 1603, when a woman named Izumo no Okuni began performing a new style of drama and dance routines outside of Kyoto. (2) This new form of entertainment quickly got popular throughout Japan. 

       (3) Kabuki was known for its extravagant costumes and elaborate make-up. (4) The stage was what really set it apart from other forms of theater at the time. (5) It included a walkway protruding from the stage out through the audience.  (6) Actors would use this walkway to make surprise entrances. (7) More advanced features were added, such as rotating stages and trapdoors to lift actors onto or down from the stage almost instantly. (8) All of these were used to create dramatic emphasis. 

Which would be the best replacement of the word "got" in Sentence 2?

Possible Answers:

was getting

(no change)

received

made

became

Correct answer:

became

Explanation:

"Became" is less informal and a better fit for the tone of the passage. "Made" and "received" don't make sense in context.

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