SAT Writing : Analyzing Content

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

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Example Questions

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Example Question #363 : Improving Paragraphs

 [1] The Magna Carta was a charter issued in 1215 that limited a king’s power and said that no one, even a king, was above the law. [2] Before it was passed, the English people were upset that King John was ignoring their complaints. [3] They threatened King John and he agreed to sign the Magna Carta, limiting his powers and giving more to the lords. [4] The Magna Carta exemplified the political values of limited government and rule of law. [5] In fact, Magna Carta is Latin for "The Great Charter." [6] The Magna Carta affected the American political system because America ended up taking on those same values. [7] In America, the president can’t do whatever he or she wants; he or she has to work with Congress. [8] In addition, the president, like the king of England, is not above the law. [9] For example, if the president speeds then he or she will get a ticket, just like anyone else who speeds. [10] The Magna Carta could be the earliest influence on the American political system and the Constitution.

Which two sentences in the paragraph best show a cause-effect relationship?

Possible Answers:

Sentences 5 and 6

Sentences 7 and 8 

Sentences 9 and 10

Sentences 2 and 3

Sentences 8 and 9

Correct answer:

Sentences 2 and 3

Explanation:

Of the sentences in this paragraph, Sentences 2 and 3 most clearly show a cause-effect relationship. Sentence 2 is the cause ("the English people were upset that King John was ignoring their complaints") and Sentence 3 is the effect ("They threatened King John and he agreed to sign the Magna Carta.") Neither sentence would work without the other.

Example Question #364 : Improving Paragraphs

(1) During the 1960s, many directors from Czechoslovakia contributed to a film movement called "Czechoslovak New Wave." (2) This period is often considered to be the golden age of Czechoslovak cinema. (3) These films often used improvised dialogue rather than a script and featured many non-professional actors. (4) The directors from this period wished to capture the authentic experience of living in Czechoslovakia at the time. (5) However, a series of new censorship laws introduced by the Communist Party in 1968 halted the movement and motivated several of the key directors to flee to America.

How can the significance of Sentence 3 to the overall paragraph best be described?

Possible Answers:

The sentence shows how Czechoslovak New Wave contributed to the political history of Czechoslovakia.

The sentence demonstrates the filmmaking methods used in Czechoslovak New Wave that set the movement apart in the history of cinema.

The sentence defends the elements of Czechoslovak New Wave that the Communist Party attempted to censor.

The sentence explains what elements of Czechoslovak New Wave we might be able to observe in modern American films.

The sentence indicates which filmmakers in particular contributed the most significantly to Czechoslovak New Wave.

Correct answer:

The sentence demonstrates the filmmaking methods used in Czechoslovak New Wave that set the movement apart in the history of cinema.

Explanation:

This explanation is the best because the others are illogical or insufficient.

Example Question #365 : Improving Paragraphs

The Moluccas is a chain, or archetype, of islands belonging to Indonesia. Historically, these islands were known as the Spice Islands for their abundance of nutmeg, cloves, mace, and pepper, this profundity of spices eventually drew colonial attention. Spices such as cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, anise, and pepper were particularly popular during the medieval times. In the 1600s, the Spice Wars arose as a result of competing Portuguese and Dutch interest’s in the Spice Islands. The bloody conflict ended in the deaths of many native Moluccans as well as European traders, wherefore both Portugal and the Netherlands gained and lost territories ranging from Africa and South America. For this day, strife occasionally breaks out on the islands although it is now motivated by religious and not colonial disagreements. It is located just west of New Guinea in the Pacific Ocean, and its more than 1,000 islands are home to more than 2 million people today.

What is the relationship between the two underlined sentences?

Possible Answers:

The first sentence outlines the reason for modern conflicts in the islands, the second transitions into a discussion of historical, colonial conflicts fought in the same area

The first sentence introduces the idea of conflict, and what might motivate it, and the second elaborates on the actual conflicts that have, in fact, occurred

The first sentence provides historical context about conflict in the islands, the second transitions into a discussion of modern conflict on the islands, and the way in which the motivations for such conflict differ

The two sentences are not related, the second sentence should be moved

Both sentences discuss historical conflicts in the island related to colonialism

Correct answer:

The first sentence provides historical context about conflict in the islands, the second transitions into a discussion of modern conflict on the islands, and the way in which the motivations for such conflict differ

Explanation:

These two sentences are, obviously, grammatically independent from one another, but in terms of the context and logical flow of the paragraph, the first outlines historical conflicts, and then discusses modern conflicts. The two sentences thus, taken in concert, outline the history of conflict (and the motivations thereof) in the islands. This question required an accurate reading of both sentences, and an understanding of their overall role in the paragraph. The key thing to note is that the historical context is established prior to a discussion of the modern motivations for conflict in the area.

Example Question #116 : Analyzing, Combining, And Moving Content

1 As anyone who has tried it can tell you, Filipino food is an exciting intriguing blend of flavors. 2 Due to interaction with various nations and cultures, it’s cuisine is marked by influences from Austronesia, Spain, China, Malaysia, and the United States. 3 Some typical dishes including pancit, longganisa, lumpia, kare-kare, pinakbet, sinigang, and adobo. 4 For example, one could find everything from Spanish paella and Chinese spring rolls (locally called lumpia) if you walked into a Filipino restaurant.

5 Another important compound of Filipino cuisine is street food. 6 These street foods include many fried foods, such as bananas, plantains, dumplings, squid balls, battered quail eggs, and fruit or vegetable spring rolls.7 Taho, a warm street food, is composed of bean curd, a caramel syrup or arnibal, and tapioca pearls.8 Don’t forget dessert! 9 With such a variety of flavors, textures, and cooking styles, there’s certainly to be something for every gourmand.

Which of the following statements best describes the purpose of Sentence 6 in the passage?

Possible Answers:

Providing evidence against the assertion that street food is a limited part of any national cuisine

Providing examples of street food, and supporting the argument that fried food is an important part of the average Filipino diet

Providing examples of street food, and supporting the statement that street food is an important part of the nation cuisine

Providing examples of the wide variety of national cuisines available in the Phillipines

None of these statements accurately describe the purpose of the sentence.

Correct answer:

Providing examples of street food, and supporting the statement that street food is an important part of the nation cuisine

Explanation:

Sentence 6 enumerates a number of examples of Filipino individual Filipino street foods, and in so doing both provides content, and helps to justify the statement that street food is an important component of the nations cuisine in generalo

Example Question #117 : Analyzing, Combining, And Moving Content

1 Although vegetarianism is sometimes considered a recent phenomenon, the practice actually has roots in both ancient India and ancient Greece. 2 In Greece, being vegetarian was a way to abstain from eating ‘beings with souls,’ and vegetarianism was primarily practiced by small religious sects or certain philosophical thinkers. 3 Ancient Indian vegetarianism may have been more widespread, as it was mandatory for many Hindus, Jains, and Buddhists. 4 Buddhist scholars argue whether Gautama Buddha ever ate meat. 5 Obviously, vegetarianism is a constantly evolution practice that has changed considerably over the past several thousand years.

6 During the Middle Ages, vegetarianism remained largely outside the cultural milieu in Europe. 7 Certain aseptic religious sects may have avoided eating meat, but the practice didn’t truly gain ground in Western Europe until the Age of Enlightenment. 8 During and before that time, many people still argued that animals existed only for the benefit of humankind. 9 They were opposed by other people who thought that that was an anthropocentric viewpoint.

10 Over time, vegetarianism gradually gained diction with influential thinkers and by the twentieth century, organizations such as the International Vegetarian Union, the North American Vegetarian Society, and the Animal Aid were appearing. 11 What new form will vegetarianism take in the future?

In the context of the passage, what is the best definition for the underlined word “sects” in Sentence 2?

Possible Answers:

nonbelievers

hierarchies

subgroups

stereotypes

dissidents

Correct answer:

subgroups

Explanation:

The word “sect” is used to refer to a smaller –and often more extreme– group within a religion or belief system. These sects are sometimes seen as heretical by members of the larger religious group, but not always.

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