SAT WRITING WORKBOOK

PART II

images

DRESS REHEARSAL: A SAMPLE TEST

images

• Taking a Full-Length Writing Test

• Finding the Best Answers

• Checking Your Answers

• How to Score Your Own Essay

• What the Numbers Tell You

• Calculating Your Score on the Writing Test

By taking the sample test, you’ll quickly become familiar with the length and format of the exam. You’ll also begin to identify your strengths and weaknesses as a writer.

The SAT always begins with the essay question and then offers several sections of math and reading questions. The Writing Test resumes in Section 4 or 5 of the SAT with thirty-five multiple-choice questions and then, after still more math and reading questions, concludes with fourteen additional multiple-choice questions on writing. This sample test, therefore, differs from a real SAT because the three sections of writing questions follow one after the other.

Despite this difference, try to simulate actual test conditions as you administer this test to yourself. Here’s how to do it:

image Set aside an uninterrupted hour.

image Use a timer, a watch, or a clock to time each section.

  Section 1: Essay Question (25 minutes)

  Section 2: Multiple-Choice Questions (25 minutes)

  Section 3: More Multiple-Choice Questions (10 minutes)

image Work on only one section at a time.

image Don’t skip ahead to the next section before the allotted time is up.

image Don’t return to a previous section once it’s over.

image Write the essay on separate pieces paper no larger than 8½×11 inches, the size of an official SAT essay response sheet. Use a pencil to write your essay. An SAT essay written in ink will be scored “zero.”

image Mark your multiple-choice answers in pencil on the answer sheet provided.

When you’ve completed the test, check your answers with the Answer Key and fill in the Performance Evaluation Chart. Your score on each section, along with your total score, will give you a profile of what you’ve done well and what you should study between now and SAT day. The chart will also tell you the types of questions you answered most successfully. Be sure to read the answer explanations for the questions you got wrong. On second thought, read all the explanations. You may pick up a pointer or two that will serve you well on future exams.

Note that each question is rated by its level of difficulty—EASY, MEDIUM, or HARD. “Easy” questions are answered correctly by approximately 80 to 99 percent of students taking the exam. A “medium” rating suggests that more than 65 percent will answer the question correctly. And of the “hard” questions, fewer than 65 percent of test takers are likely to choose the right answer.

In an ideal world everyone will answer all easy, medium, and hard questions correctly. In reality, however, that’s not going to happen. The SAT is a test, after all, that is meant to differentiate students from each other. If you make mistakes, learn from them. The answer explanations will direct you to relevant pages to study.

Although it’s hard to assess your own essay objectively, don’t shy away from trying. Let the essay cool for a while—maybe a day or more. Then, reread it with an open mind and a fresh pair of eyes. Rate your essay using the Self-Scoring Guide. For a second opinion, find a trusted and informed friend—or maybe a teacher, counselor, or parent—to read, rate, and discuss your essay with you.

Finally, convert your raw scores into the SAT’s 200–800 scaled score. Remember that your scaled score is only an approximation of what you might earn on an actual SAT Writing Test.

Are you ready to begin? Good luck!

Sample Test

SECTION 1
ESSAY

TIME: 25 MINUTES

Directions: Plan and write an essay in response to the assigned topic. Use the essay as an opportunity to show how clearly and effectively you can express and develop ideas. Present your thoughts logically and precisely. Include specific evidence or examples to support your point of view. A plain, natural writing style is probably best. The number of words is up to you, but quantity is less important than quality. (See Part III of this book for tips on writing first-rate essays.)

Limit your essay to two sides of the lined paper provided. You’ll have enough space if you write on every line and avoid wide margins. Write or print legibly because handwriting that’s hard or impossible to read will decrease your score.

BE SURE TO WRITE ONLY ON THE ASSIGNED TOPIC. AN ESSAY WRITTEN ON ANOTHER TOPIC WILL BE SCORED “ZERO.”

If you finish in less than twenty-five minutes, check your work. Do not turn to another section of the test.

See Practice Test A.

Think carefully about the following passage and the following assignment.

Whenever Social Studies teacher Karen Greene sits down to grade a stack of papers, she wonders whether the grades convey useful information about student learning to the students themselves, to parents, counselors, or even to colleges.

While most would agree that grades provide a sort of feedback on student performance, finding consensus on the criteria to use for grading is a different story. Should Karen reward high grades to diligent, hard-working students with very low skills and limited achievement? Or should she risk discouraging such students by giving them the Ds that their work really deserves? What about grading students capable of doing excellent work when they put their mind to it but who rarely bother? An F for lack of effort might prod them to try harder, but would it accurately reflect the real quality of their work?

Adapted from Lisa Birk, Harvard Education Letter, October 2004

Assignment: Should students who work very hard in a course earn very high grades, or should achievement rather than effort determine students’ grades? Plan and write an essay in which you develop your point of view on this issue. Support your position with reasoning and examples taken from your observations, experience, studies, or reading.

Section 1

ESSAY

Time allowed: 25 minutes

Limit your essay to two pages. Do not skip lines. Write only inside the box.

image

End of essay.

Do not proceed to Section 2 until the allotted time

for Section 1 has passed.

Answer Sheet for
Multiple-Choice Questions

images

SECTION 2
MULTIPLE-CHOICE QUESTIONS

TIME: 25 MINUTES

Improving Sentences

Directions: The underlined sentences and sentence parts below may contain errors in standard English, including awkward or ambiguous expression, poor word choice (diction), incorrect sentence structure, or faulty grammar, usage, and punctuation. Read each sentence carefully and identify which of the five alternate versions most effectively and correctly expresses the meaning of the underlined material. Indicate your choice by filling in the corresponding space on the answer sheet. Choice A always repeats the original. Choose A if none of the other choices improves the original sentence.

EXAMPLE

ANSWER

   

My old Aunt Maud loves to cook, and eating also.

image

(A) cook, and eating also

(B) cook and to eat

(C) cook, and to eat also

(D) cook and eat besides

(E) cook and, in addition, eat

1.   The Broadway tradition of “musical comedy” has changed over the years because of their stories and music exploring serious themes, especially the consequences of war, tyranny, and death.

(A)  of their stories and music exploring

(B)  of their stories and music exploring their

(C)  its stories and music explore

(D)  its stories and music explores

(E)  of how it explores through stories and music

2.   Mr. Rich was not the first math teacher to entertain and inspire his students, but he has been the first who turned math class into a party.

(A)  has been the first who turned

(B)  had been the first who turned

(C)  was the first having turned

(D)  was the first to turn

(E)  having been the first to turn

3.   Our interscholastic athletic schedules were made too recklessly, without sufficient planning behind it.

(A)  too recklessly, without sufficient planning behind it

(B)  too reckless, without sufficient planning behind it

(C)  too recklessly, without sufficient planning behind them

(D)  too reckless, and there is not sufficient planning behind them

(E)  too recklessly, and there is not sufficient planning behind it

4.   Many senior citizens are reluctant to go online, it results from not knowing much about computers and being a bit scared of it.

(A)  online, it results from not knowing much about computers and being a bit scared of it

(B)  online resulting from not knowing much about computers and being a bit scared of it

(C)  online for the reason being that they don’t know much about computers and are a bit scared of them

(D)  online because of knowing little about computers and being scared of it

(E)  online because they know little about computers and are a bit scared of them

5.   The program of extracurricular activities were cut from the school budget in spite of them being regarded as one of the most important aspects of high school.

(A)  were cut from the school budget in spite of them being regarded

(B)  was cut from the school budget in spite of them being regarded

(C)  was cut from the school budget in spite of their regard as being

(D)  were cut from the school budget in spite of regarding it

(E)  was cut from the school budget in spite of it being regarded

6.   As modern astronomy increasingly employs sophisticated space telescopes, high-speed computers, and years-long probes into outer space, humankind’s concept of the heavens has changed.

(A)  humankind’s concept of the heavens has changed

(B)  humankind’s concept of the heavens have changed

(C)  there has been changes in humankind’s concepts of the heavens

(D)  humankind have undergone a change in its concepts of the heavens

(E)  humankind has had changes in their concept of the heavens

7.   Although whales can grow bigger than houses, they have ears so small that you can’t clean them out with an ordinary Q-tip.

(A)  Although whales can grow

(B)  Whereas whales can grow

(C)  Despite a whale growing

(D)  While a whale’s size can grow

(E)  Since a whale can grow

8.   When the baseball rulebook is followed too closely, they often spoil instead of enhancing the game.

(A)  When the baseball rulebook is followed too closely, they often spoil instead of enhancing the game

(B)  When the baseball rulebook is followed too closely, it often spoils instead of enhancing the game

(C)  The baseball rulebook, if too closely followed, often spoils the game, not enhancing it

(D)  The baseball rulebook, if followed too closely, often spoils rather than enhances the game

(E)  If you follow too closely the baseball rulebook, it often spoils rather than enhances the game

9.   At the airport passengers must pass through metal detectors, but there are not frequent body searches of passengers.

(A)  detectors, but there are not frequent body searches of passengers

(B)  detectors, and a bodily search of passengers is not frequent

(C)  detectors but are rarely subject to body searches

(D)  detectors, but the searching of their bodies is rare

(E)  detectors, but the search of bodies is rare among them

10.   The students of Campolindo High show as much school spirit as any other school.

(A)  as much school spirit as any other school

(B)  so much school spirit as any other school

(C)  spirit like any school

(D)  as much school spirit as those of any other school

(E)  as much spirit if not moreso than that of any school

11.   Inside Margaret Jackson’s home were an art studio with a pottery kiln, high-tech stainless steel appliances, and there was a swimming pool lined with Italian marble.

(A)  there was a swimming pool lined with Italian marble

(B)  a swimming pool lined with Italian marble

(C)  lined with Italian marble was a swimming pool

(D)  the swimming pool was lined with Italian marble

(E)  a swimming pool with Italian marble was there

Identifying Sentence Errors

Directions: The underlined and lettered parts of each sentence below may contain an error in grammar, usage, word choice (diction), or expression (idiom). Read each sentence carefully and identify which item, if any, contains an error. Indicate your choice by filling in the corresponding space on the answer sheet. No sentence contains more than one error. Some sentences may contain no error. In that case, the correct choice will always be E (No error).

EXAMPLE

Jill went image to the image of the hill in a image faster time image her friend, Jack. image.

ANSWER

image

12.   Although he left Texas image a small boy, Jim returned image he was sixteen image that he’d image the rest of his life there. image

13.   image the constant pressure of schoolwork and sports, Terry image more image than image, in her senior year. image

14.   image the beginning of the play, image two puzzling dilemmas that Medea must must solve image she is image her ordeal. image

15.   The common sentiment that hard work image doesn’t image a frail old man image has a heart condition and a long driveway to shovel after a snowstorm. image

16.   image decades, scientists analyzed masses of public-health statistics image found a high correlation image heavy smoking and the incidence of lung cancer. image

17.   Saturday’s game image why Paulie, one of the image players, is being recruited image colleges. image

18.   image every road in the town is now paved, there are image some residents image that the dirt roads be preserved. image

19.   The company image manufacturing dishwasher soaps in bright colors because consumers respond to image than image image

20.   The professor image the realistic painter image reality, image the impressionistic or abstract painter reveals a personal or emotional response image image

21.   Many of the candidates, including the incumbent senator image the legislation image the ban image in Yellowstone and other national parks. image

22.   image orientation program familiarizes new ninth graders image the daily schedule, teaches them the layout of the building, and image the chance to practice going image image

23.   An examination of image current economic statistics image image the sales tax in the image image

24.   Some symbols image a image some image others personal, some contradictory, conflicted, image ambivalent. image

25.   Since the early 1800s, the famous Hope Diamond image the most notorious gem image leaving behind image have suffered one misfortune after another. image

26.   image the setting profoundly influences the thoughts, emotions, and actions of the characters, a place can be as image a story as image the people in image image

27.   image Lady Gaga and Beyoncé image popular singers, but Beyoncé has the image number of fans. image

28.   During this past year, a rapport image between my Spanish teacher image I now call image her first name, Louise. image

29.   Readers image easily draw a distinction between a so-called literary classic and an escapist piece of pulp fiction by considering image the books image to think image image

Improving Paragraphs

Directions: The passage below is the draft of a student’s essay. Some parts of the passage need improvement. Read the passage and answer the questions that follow. The questions are about revisions that might improve all or part of the passage’s organization, development, sentence structure, or choice of words. Choose the answer that best follows the requirements of standard written English.

Questions 30–35 refer to the following passage.

[1] No student of American history can avoid having learned about a great technological feat, the building of the transcontinental railroad in the middle of the nineteenth century. [2] Though the Pacific Ocean could be reached by traveling overland in wagons or by sea via South America, many dreamed of a time when the East would join the West, linked by a transcontinental railroad. [3] In 1869, the dream became a reality. [4] It was a great physical achievement. [5] In accomplishing this great feat of engineering, the workers were exploited, and many of them died.

[6] Chinese immigrants were the backbone of the workforce. [7] They performed unskilled labor and also the highly specialized and dangerous jobs as well. [8] The workers were exploited ruthlessly. [9] Methods were unsafe and cost lives. [10] Baskets holding a single person were lowered down the side of a mountain, and the worker inside would place dynamite into the mountain’s crevasse, light it, and try to make it back up. [11] If they were not pulled fast enough, or the rope broke, they fell to their deaths. [12] An estimated 1200 Chinese perished just so.

[13] With the help of the U.S. government, which contributed millions of dollars’ worth of public land and funds for construction, the project was run by a group of four well-to-do but corrupt businessmen from California. [14] They used fraud to build their own personal fortunes, and their greed ran rampant.

30.   Which of the following is the best way to deal with sentence 1 (reproduced below)?

No student of American history can avoid having learned about a great technological feat, the building of the transcontinental railroad in the middle of the nineteenth century.

(A)  Make no changes.

(B)  Switch its position in the essay with that of sentence 2.

(C)  Change “having learned” to “learning.”

(D)  Relocate “in the middle of the nineteenth century” between “history” and “can.”

(E)  Delete the comma and insert “which was.”

31.   In context, which of the following is the best way to revise the underlined words in order to combine sentences 4 and 5?

It was a great physical achievement. In accomplishing this great feat of engineering, the workers were exploited and many of them died.

(A)  It was a great physical achievement, in accomplishing this great feat of engineering

(B)  The fact is that

(C)  But students don’t learn that this great physical feat of engineering came at a large price because

(D)  As a result, historians say that this great achievement meant that

(E)  Although building the railroad was a great physical achievement,

32.   Which of the following ideas best alters sentence 9 in order to link it to sentence 8?

(A)  Consequently, methods …

(B)  Because laborers were pushed to complete the work as quickly as possible, methods …

(C)  On the other hand, methods …

(D)  With regard to taking advantage of the Chinese laborers, methods …

(E)  A good example of exploitation is that methods …

33.   Which of the following best describes the relationship between sentences 9 and 10?

(A)  Sentence 10 provides material that illustrates the statement made in sentence 9.

(B)  Sentence 10 proves the validity of the point made in sentence 9.

(C)  Sentence 10 introduces sources of information that confirms the truth of sentence 9.

(D)  Sentence 10 offers an alternative point of view about the point made in sentence 9.

(E)  Sentence 10 restates opinions expressed in sentence 9.

34.   Which of the following would be the best sentence to insert before sentence 13 to introduce the last paragraph?

(A)  Building the railroad was such an expensive undertaking that no private individual of that era could afford to finance the whole thing.

(B)  Paying for the construction of the railroad left the federal government with a mountain of debt.

(C)  One set of construction crews started building from the east to the west, while another began in the west and built eastward.

(D)  The building of the railroad was indeed an American milestone.

(E)  The Pacific Railroad Act, a document rushed through Congress, was grossly over-generous in its benefits to the builders.

35.   What material is the most appropriate to add immediately after sentence 14?

(A)  How the four business tycoons happened to meet and form a partnership

(B)  The facts that convinced the four men to build the railroad

(C)  Reasons why shoddy construction methods were used

(D)  Details about unethical business practices during the construction of the railroad

(E)  An account of how the eastbound and westbound tracks met in Utah in 1869

End of Section 2.

Do not return to Section 1. Do not proceed to Section 3 until the allotted time for Section 2 has passed.

SECTION 3
MULTIPLE-CHOICE QUESTIONS

TIME : 10 MINUTES

Improving Sentences

Directions: The underlined sentences and sentence parts below may contain errors in standard English, including awkward or ambiguous expression, poor word choice (diction), incorrect sentence structure, or faulty grammar, usage, and punctuation. Read each sentence carefully and identify which of the five alternate versions most effectively and correctly expresses the meaning of the underlined material. Indicate your choice by filling in the corresponding space on the answer sheet. Choice A always repeats the original. Choose A if none of the other choices improves the original sentence.

1.   Tony showed three college acceptance letters to his counselor, he said that NYU was definitely his first choice.

(A)  Tony showed three college acceptance letters to his counselor, he

(B)  Three college acceptance letters, which were shown to his counselor by Tony, who

(C)  Three college acceptance letters were shown by Tony to his counselor, then he

(D)  After showing three college acceptance letters to his counselor, Tony

(E)  Tony, having shown three college acceptance letters to his counselor, he

2.   Many problems among the faculty developed after Mr. Atkins took over as principal of the school; these problems diminished both the reputation and the performance of the school.

(A)  school; these problems diminished both the reputation and the performance of the school

(B)  school, they both diminished the reputation and performance of the school

(C)  school, which both diminished its reputation as well as diminished its performance

(D)  school; these problems diminished its reputation and performance

(E)  school, and they diminished its reputation as well as performance

3.   Despite being called “reality” television, the program about the plane crash in the Rockies seemed about as real as a cow jumping over the moon.

(A)  Despite being called “reality” television

(B)  Although its being “reality” television

(C)  It was called “reality” television

(D)  Because it was called “reality” television

(E)  Calling it “reality” television

4.   To think that only money motivates people to choose a career in professional athletics is wrong because in sports many people do it to find personal satisfaction

(A)  wrong because in sports many people do it to find personal satisfaction

(B)  wrong because sports would have had an effect on finding personal satisfaction

(C)  wrong, and the reason is because of the finding of personal satisfaction from a career in sports

(D)  wrong, because many athletes find personal satisfaction out of sports

(E)  wrong because many athletes find personal satisfaction in their sport

5.   At the beginning of Joseph Conrad’s story “Gaspar Ruiz,” a soldier has been falsely accused of cowardice under fire, desertion of his post, and he gave military secrets to the enemy.

(A)  he gave military secrets to the enemy

(B)  giving military secrets to the enemy

(C)  gives military secrets to the enemy

(D)  military secrets were given to the enemy

(E)  the enemy received military secrets from him

6.   Essential for doing business or just staying in touch with family and friends, cell phones, they are increasingly popular.

(A)  cell phones, they are increasingly popular

(B)  their popularity is growing

(C)  they have become more popular

(D)  cell phones are increasingly popular

(E)  cell phones, they have grown more popular

7.   Drive-in restaurants that serve fatty food can be found along almost every main highway in the country, this explaining why so many Americans are overweight.

(A)  country, this explaining why

(B)  country, this is why

(C)  country; this fact explains why

(D)  country; this fact explaining the reason why

(E)  country, and explains why

8.   When you read at a very fast rate, your eyes often skip words, and your mind grasps the meaning nevertheless.

(A)  When you read at a very fast rate, your eyes often skip words, and your mind grasps the meaning nevertheless

(B)  When you read at a very fast rate, your eyes often skip words, your mind nevertheless grasps the meaning

(C)  Because you read at a very fast rate, your eyes often skip words, and your mind grasps the meaning nevertheless

(D)  When you read at a very fast rate, your eyes often skip words, but your mind grasps the meaning nevertheless

(E)  Reading at a very fast rate, words are skipped by your eyes even when your mind grasps the meaning

9.   The author, guiding the reader through Emma’s most intimate dreams and fantasies, accurately portraying the plight of many middle-class women in France in the 1850s.

(A)  The author, guiding the reader through Emma’s most intimate dreams and fantasies, accurately

(B)  The reader is guided through Emma’s most intimate dreams and fantasies by accurately

(C)  The reader, guided through Emma’s most intimate dreams and fantasies by the author who is accurately

(D)  The author, who guides the reader through Emma’s most intimate dreams and fantasies, accurately

(E)  The author guides the reader through Emma’s most intimate dreams and fantasies, accurately

10.   The custom of naming ships after dead war heroes has been practiced through many countries in honoring their military personnel.

(A)  through many countries in honoring their

(B)  through many countries to honor its

(C)  in many countries; it is to honor its

(D)  by many countries to honor their

(E)  by many a country to honor their

11.   In 2011, the cost of college tuition increased considerably, while continuing to grow in 2012.

(A)  considerably, while continuing to grow

(B)  considerably, and it continued to increase

(C)  considerably, with continuing growth

(D)  considerably, it continued growing

(E)  considerably, continuing increasing

12.   The Black Death of the fourteenth century, possibly the world’s deadliest epidemic, whose origin is thought to be central China.

(A)  The Black Death of the fourteenth century, possibly the world’s deadliest epidemic, whose origin is thought to be central China

(B)  The Black Death of the fourteenth century, possibly the world’s deadliest epidemic, its origin is thought to be central China

(C)  Possibly the world’s deadliest epidemic, the origin of the Black Death of the fourteenth century is thought to be central China

(D)  The origin of the Black Death of the fourteenth century, possibly the world’s deadliest epidemic, is thought to be central China

(E)  The fourteenth century’s Black Death is thought to have its origin in central China, was possibly the world’s deadliest epidemic

13.   Before going on the senior class trip, a parental permission slip must be filled out for each student.

(A)  a parental permission slip must be filled out for each student

(B)  a student must have their parental permission slips filled out

(C)  their parents must fill out a permission slip for each student

(D)  a student must have a parental permission slip filled out

(E)  permission for each student must be filled out by their parents

14.   Residents of Chicago have just as much right to complain about the cold as the city of Minneapolis, which endures sub-freezing temperatures most of the winter.

(A)  Residents of Chicago have just as much right to complain about the cold as the city of Minneapolis, a city that

(B)  Residents of Chicago have just as much right to complain about the cold as residents of Minneapolis, a city that

(C)  Residents of Chicago have equally the right to complain about the cold as residents of Minneapolis, a city that

(D)  Residents of Chicago, having the equal right to complain about the cold as Minneapolis, a city where the population

(E)  Residents of Chicago, rightfully complaining about the cold as the population of Minneapolis, a city where it

End of Section 3.

Do not return to Sections 1 or 2.

END OF WRITING TEST.