PSAT Writing : Organization Words

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for PSAT Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #3 : Rhetoric: Words And Phrases

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. 1 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.

Possible Answers:

Therefore,

 Consequently,

NO CHANGE

In fact,

Correct answer:

NO CHANGE

Explanation:

Whenever the SAT Writing and Language section asks you for the best transition between two paragraphs or sentences, read the sentence before and after the transition and determine the relationship between the two sentences. The sentence before in this case states that the original vision of the church was based on Gothic revival churches from Italy. The sentence after the transition word states that this ideal wasn't built. Because of the contrast between the two sentences, you're looking for a word that indicates contrast. The only choice that indicates contrast is, NO CHANGE. Since the other options all indicate that the next sentence should be a continuation, they can all be eliminated.

Example Question #4 : Rhetoric: Words And Phrases

As the research progresses, they must present their findings in both written and oral reports to stakeholders in the project. Therefore, depending on the site and what they find, CRM archaeologists may also work with architects and planners. This work is to revise building sites to protect sensitive areas. So while everyday archaeologists may not be involved in saving the world from existential threats, they do play an important role in society, helping us preserve and consider the past even as we plan for the future. As cities and communities continue to expand, the work they do will only grow in importance.

Possible Answers:

Depending

In fact, depending

NO CHANGE

However, depending

Correct answer:

Depending

Explanation:

This question asks you to choose between different transition words and to determine whether you need a transition word at all between these two sentences. As with any question dealing with transitions, you should first look at what each sentence is saying and then determine the relationship between those two sentences. The first sentence states that the archaeologists must present their findings to the members of the project, and the second states that after that they may work with architects and planners to change the plan. These are two separate facts - one does not flow into the other except sequentially. Thus, the best transition is in fact no transition at all, "depending."

Example Question #5 : Rhetoric: Words And Phrases

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; 1 surprisingly, 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. 

Possible Answers:

NO CHANGE

indeed,

in fact,

however,

Correct answer:

however,

Explanation:

Whenever you are asked to choose a transition between two thoughts, you should first consider each thought separately and then how they relate together. The phrase before the transition states that many people have considered the fact that cooking was not science-like to be good. The phrase after the transition states that Kurti and This considered this an "affront to science". The two phrases are meant to contrast with one another and require a transition word that reflects this. Neither "in fact" nor "indeed" indicate a contrast and can be eliminated. "Surprisingly" does indicate a contrast, but the second phrase isn't surprising so it too can be eliminated. "however" is correct.

Example Question #6 : Rhetoric: Words And Phrases

Niche constructors are particularly important in colonizing new environments. One of the easiest ways to measure this effect on evolution has been in the effect that the number of earthworms has on soil fertility, a measure of how hospitable an environment is to plant growth. Even the least fertile soil has around 62 worms per square meter, and as the number of worms increases so does soil fertility. As worms move through the different layers of soil, they eat, digest, and excrete massive amounts of organic matter. They leave their excretions behind in the form of nutrient-rich droppings known as casings. As these casings decompose, they release nutrients into the soil. This process not only moves nutrients from one layer of the soil to another but also converts the nutrients to forms that plants can absorb and process more easily. Because it is easier for plants to get the proper nutrients, plants don’t have to invest time and energy into making better root systems to gather nutrients. 1 Therefore, plants have, over time, lost some of these mechanisms – a form of evolution. 

Possible Answers:

As a result,

In fact,

NO CHANGE

Nevertheless,

Correct answer:

As a result,

Explanation:

As with the previous question, to pick the best transition you need to be able to understand the sentence before and the sentence you are transitioning to. The previous sentence states that plants don't have to work as hard to get nutrients because of changes to the soil. The current sentence states that plants have lost the ability to work hard. The second sentence is not just a continuation of the first - it's a consequence. The only answer that shows this relationship is, "as a result."

Example Question #7 : Rhetoric: Words And Phrases

Since 1988, the mission of molecular gastronomy has shifted. Kurti and This originally sought to investigate “kitchen old wives’ tales,” invent new recipes, improve old ones, and make the case to the public that science was a useful part of everyday life. Even if their experiments weren’t intended to be replicated in home kitchens, they were intended to encourage home cooks to experiment. Today, molecular gastronomists seek to explore the social, artistic, and technical aspects of food preparation. Some have argued that this shift in focus, along with the fact that techniques in molecular gastronomy have so far surpassed what any home cook could do, means that molecular gastronomy has lost its ability to impact how the world cooks at home.

 To these ends, the belief in experimentation lives on outside the world of molecular gastronomy. Cooking magazines and websites now often have what are called “test kitchens” – departments dedicated not only to testing new recipes but also to improving techniques and testing uses for kitchen implements themselves. These test kitchens have taken the spirit of experimentation from Kurti and This’s early work and have applied it to everything from the best way to make fried chicken to the ideal temperature at which to bake chocolate chip cookies. While these experiments might not involve lab equipment, they have fulfilled one of Kurti and This’s early dreams: they show the importance of scientific thinking outside of the halls of science.

Possible Answers:

Despite this criticism,

 As a result,

In light of this criticism,

NO CHANGE

Correct answer:

Despite this criticism,

Explanation:

As with other transition phrases, you should look at the sentence before and the sentence containing the transition and determine their relationship in order to correctly answer this problem. The sentence before talks about the criticism that molecular gastronomy no longer affects how the world cooks at home. The sentence containing the transition states that experimentation lives on outside of molecular gastronomy. While this isn't a direct contrast, it is a contrast. The only transition that correctly indicates this contrast is answer choice "Despite this criticism."

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