SAT WRITING WORKBOOK

PART VI

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TESTS FOR PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE

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Practice Test D Answer Key

SECTION 1—THE ESSAY

What follows are ideas for answering the essay question given in this practice test. The essay you wrote may contain some of the same or similar ideas. Don’t be alarmed if your essay is much different, however. Your approach to the question may be at least as valid as any of those described here:

How you respond to the question will depend in part on your definition of information. Your head is undoubtedly full of information, or facts, about, say, American history, from the landing of the Pilgrims to the latest political scandal. And if you want more information, you can search the Internet. Ideas, on the other hand, can’t be gathered as easily. Take the idea of equal rights, for instance. For decades segments of our population—among others, blacks and women—have struggled for equal rights. Whether they’ve succeeded is questionable, for equality is an amorphous multidimensional concept.

The idea of equality, as any literate American will tell you, lies at the heart of a democratic way of life. Yet, how often have you seriously pondered or talked about it, or even heard it discussed frankly by others? If you say rarely or never, the thesis of your SAT essay may concur with Neal Gabler, the author of the prompt, who claims that readily available facts and information have displaced ideas in our day-to-day lives. Think for a moment about your interactions with friends, classmates, teachers, and family. Do you talk mostly of mundane, everyday things, or does your conversation sometimes veer toward lofty topics like the human condition, spirituality, effects of digital communication, theories of art, the meaning of truth, and so forth? A list of big, intellectually demanding ideas can go on and on, but if your interests and concerns rarely or never drift in that direction, your experience might well confirm Gabler’s view.

On the other hand, as a consequence of your studies, reading, observation, and experience your head may be bursting with great, often stimulating, ideas. Perhaps you’re absorbed or even obsessed with profound issues of government, economics, religion, war, sex, the environment, education, and other matters. Perhaps a life of thought and contemplation is what you envision for yourself. If that is you, your essay might argue that Gabler is off base. You could even begin your essay by pointing out that Gabler’s own provocative idea—that we live in a world increasingly bereft of ideas—contradicts the very thesis he expounds.

As always in an SAT essay, you can take a middle-of-the-road position. You may discern, for instance, that many people are both well stocked with information and attuned to big ideas. Scientists, artists, farmers, engineers, doctors, accountants, architects, salespeople, lawyers, statesmen and stateswomen—people of all stripes—have somehow learned to balance today’s frenzy for information with the leisurely contemplation of ideas. For them reflecting on ideas is more than simply a way to pass the time, for ideas often have utilitarian value. Even highly abstract ideas can be employed to help make decisions, solve problems, and stimulate the imagination. In fact, thoughtful individuals with a knack for judiciously combining information and ideas might serve as models of rationality in an increasingly jumbled world. What’s more, such people might well be the focus of a good SAT essay.

SELF-SCORING GUIDE

Using this guide, rate yourself in each of these six categories. Enter your scores in the spaces provided, and calculate the average of the six ratings to determine your final score.

On the SAT itself, two readers will score your essay on a scale of 6 (high) to 1 (low), or zero if you fail to write on the assigned topic. The score will be reported to you as the sum of the two ratings, from 12 to 0.

Remember that SAT essays are judged in relation to other essays written on the same topic. Therefore, this scoring guide may not yield a totally accurate prediction of the score you can expect on the exam. Because it is difficult to read your own essay with total objectivity, you might improve the validity of your score by getting a second opinion about your essay from an informed friend or a teacher.

Overall Impression

6

Consistently outstanding in clarity and competence; very insightful; clearly demonstrates a command of writing skills; few, if any, errors

5

Generally effective and reasonably consistent in clarity and competence; occasional errors or lapses in quality; contains some insight

4

Adequate competence; some lapses in quality; fairly clear and with evidence of insight

3

Generally inadequate but demonstrates potential competence; contains some confusing aspects

2

Seriously limited; significant weaknesses in quality; generally unclear or incoherent

1

Demonstrates fundamental incompetence; contains serious flaws; significantly undeveloped or confusing

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Development of Point of View

6

Fully developed with clear, convincing, and appropriate supporting material; demonstrates high level of critical thinking

5

Generally well developed with relevant examples, reasons, and other evidence to support a main idea; demonstrates critical-thinking skills

4

Partly develops a main idea with relatively appropriate examples and reasons; shows some evidence of critical thinking

3

Weak development of main idea and little evidence of critical thinking; barely appropriate examples or other supporting material

2

Lacks a focus on a main idea; weak critical thinking; inappropriate or insufficient evidence

1

Fails to articulate a viable point of view; provides virtually no evidence of understanding the prompt

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Organization of Ideas

6

Extremely well organized and focused on a main idea; supporting evidence presented in an effective, logical sequence

5

Generally well organized and reasonably focused on a main idea; mostly coherent and logical presentation of supporting material

4

Reasonably organized; shows some evidence of thoughtful sequence and progression of ideas

3

Limited organization and vague focus on main idea; contains some confusion in the sequence of ideas

2

Barely recognizable organization; little coherence; serious problems with sequence of ideas

1

No discernable organization; incoherent sequence of ideas

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Language and Word Choice

6

Highly effective and skillful use of language; varied, appropriate, and accurate vocabulary

5

Demonstrates competence in use of language; appropriate and correct vocabulary

4

Adequate but inconsistent use of effective language; conventional but mostly correct use of vocabulary

3

Some minor errors in expression; generally weak or limited vocabulary; occasionally inappropriate word choice

2

Frequent errors in expression; very limited vocabulary; incorrect word choice interferes with meaning

1

Seriously deficient in use of language; meaning obscured by word choice

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Sentence Structure

6

Varied and engaging sentence structure

5

Reasonably varied sentence structure

4

Some sentence variation

3

Little sentence variation; minor sentence errors

2

Frequent sentence errors

1

Severe sentence errors; meaning obscured

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Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics

6

Virtually or entirely error-free

5

Relatively free of technical flaws

4

Some minor errors; one or two major errors

3

Accumulated minor and major errors

2

Contains frequent major errors that interfere with meaning

1

Contains severe errors that obscure meaning

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ANSWERS TO MULTIPLE-CHOICE QUESTIONS

SECTION 2

1. B

13. E

25. D

2. A

14. A

26. B

3. E

15. C

27. B

4. D

16. E

28. D

5. C

17. A

29. B

6. C

18. C

30. B

7. E

19. C

31. C

8. C

20. D

32. C

9. A

21. B

33. C

10. B

22. E

34. A

11. E

23. B

35. B

12. B

24. C

 

SECTION 3

  1. D

  6. E

11. A

  2. C

  7. A

12. C

  3. B

  8. D

13. B

  4. D

  9. E

14. D

  5. A

10. E

 

Performance Evaluation Chart

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Conversion Table

This table will give you an approximation of what your score would be if this practice test had been an actual SAT Writing Test. The essay counts for roughly 30 percent of the final score; the multiple-choice questions, for roughly 70 percent.

For example, if your Multiple-Choice Raw Score was 35 and your Essay Subscore was 6, the table indicates that your final score on the test would be approximately halfway between 500 and 710, or 600.

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Answer Explanations

Note: Although some choices contain multiple errors, only one or two major errors are explained for each incorrect choice.

SECTION 2—IMPROVING SENTENCES

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Key to Levels of Difficulty

 

Percentage of students

Rating

likely to answer correctly

EASY

>80%

MEDIUM

>65%

HARD

<65%

1.   B   A. Shift in verb tense. The sentence, cast in the past tense, shifts to the present perfect.

C. Subject–verb agreement. The subject coming is singular. The verb were is plural. Use was.

D. Idiom error. The phrase not a coming is not standard English.

E. Idiom error. The phrase not immediate successors is not standard English.

EASY

2.   A   B. Sentence fragment. The grammatical subject (editorials) lacks a verb. The verb argued cannot be the verb because it is in a subordinate clause.

C. Sentence fragment. The grammatical subject (decision) lacks a verb. The verb opposed cannot be the verb because it is in a clause whose sole function is to modify a noun.

D. Sentence fragment. The construction lacks a main verb. The –ing form of a verb (being) may not be used as the main verb without a helping verb, as in is being.

E. Sentence fragment. The grammatical subject (arguments) lacks a verb. The verb appeared cannot be the verb because it is in a subordinate clause.

EASY

3.   E   A. Misplaced modifier. The phrase most important city should modify New York instead of tourists.

B. Misplaced modifier. The phrase most important city should modify New York instead of millions.

C. Misplaced modifier. The phrase most important city should modify New York instead of year.

D. Misplaced modifier. The phrase most important city should modify New York instead of tourists.

MEDIUM

4.   D   A. Pronoun reference. The pronoun his refers to reader instead of to Thoreau.

B. Pronoun reference. The pronoun they lacks an antecedent.

C. Dangling participle. The phrase Reading Thoreau’s Walden should modify reader instead of plenty.

E. Sentence fragment. The construction is a subordinate clause, not a complete sentence.

MEDIUM

5.   C   A. Faulty parallelism. Coordinate elements in a sentence should be in parallel form. The verb phrase transported on its roads is not parallel to to bury it inside its borders

B. Idiom error. The construction neither … or is not standard English. Use neither … nor.

D. Redundancy. The phrases not only and but in addition also are redundant.

E. Shift in verb tense. The sentence, cast in the present tense, shifts to the past perfect.

HARD

6.   C   A. Sentence shift. By switching the grammatical subject you in the first clause to letters in the second, the sentence shifts from the active to the passive voice.

B. Mixed construction. The first clause begins in the second person (you). The second clause eliminates the pronoun and becomes impersonal.

D. Pronoun reference. The pronoun in his letters lacks a specific referent.

E. Pronoun reference. The pronoun his refers to person instead of to Jefferson.

HARD

7.   E   A. Pronoun reference. The pronoun them doesn’t refer to a specific plural noun or other pronoun.

B. Faulty parallelism. The adjective noisiest and the phrase more tranquil than any should be in parallel form. Use the most tranquil.

C. Comma splice. Commas may not be used to separate two independent clauses.

D. Pronoun reference. The pronoun them doesn’t refer to a specific plural noun or other pronoun.

HARD

8.   C   A. Comma splice. A comma may not be used to separate two independent clauses.

B. Comma splice. A comma may not be used to separate two independent clauses.

D. Tense shift. The sentence, cast in the past tense, shifts to the present.

E. Comma splice. A comma may not be used to separate two independent clauses.

MEDIUM

9.   A   B. Shift in verb tense. The sentence, cast in present perfect tense (has grown), shifts to the past tense (attracted ).

C. Faulty comparison. The noun number is being compared to Columbia, an illogical comparison.

D. Awkwardness. The construction is not in standard English.

E. Sentence fragment. The construction lacks a main verb.

MEDIUM

10.   B   A. Faulty subordination. The conjunction while fails to create a logical relationship between the two clauses in the sentence.

C. Mixed construction. The verb made has no logical relationship with the subject of the sentence.

D. Faulty subordination. The conjunction although fails to create a logical relationship between the two clauses in the sentence.

E. Mixed construction. The verb makes has no logical relationship with the subject of the sentence.

MEDIUM

11.   E   A. Pronoun reference. The pronoun they fails to refer to a specific noun or other pronoun.

B. Faulty parallelism. Coordinate elements in a sentence should be in parallel form. The phrase at once frustrating is not parallel to although it is beautifully designed.

C. Faulty parallelism. Coordinate elements in a sentence should be in parallel form. The phrase at once frustrating is not parallel to yet it is beautiful in its design.

D. Faulty parallelism. Coordinate elements in a sentence should be in parallel form. The phrase at once frustrating is not parallel to while being designed so beautifully.

MEDIUM

SECTION 2—IDENTIFYING SENTENCE ERRORS

12.   B   Subject–verb agreement. The subject plight is singular. The verb are is plural. Use is.

EASY

13.   E   No error.

EASY

14.   A   Pronoun choice. Standard usage requires the use of who rather than which to refer to people.

MEDIUM

15.   C   Faulty parallelism. Coordinate elements in a sentence should be in parallel form. Water sports is not parallel to hiking … climbing … and catching.

MEDIUM

16.   E   No error.

EASY

17.   A   Idiom error. Use in which instead of where.

HARD

18.   C   Subject–verb agreement. The compound subject career … and … murder requires a plural verb. Use prove.

HARD

19.   C   Verb tense. The sentence is cast in the present tense. The verb said is in the past tense. Use says.

EASY

20.   D   Idiom error. In context, the phrase plus being may not be used in place of but is also. In addition, being may not be used as a main verb without a helping verb, as in is being.

EASY

21.   B   Shift in pronoun person. The second person pronoun (you) improperly switches to the impersonal pronoun (one).

MEDIUM

22.   E   No error.

EASY

23.   B   Idiom error. In standard usage, the phrase is concur with.

MEDIUM

24.   C   Noun–verb agreement. Nouns in a series require plural verbs. Use invite.

MEDIUM

25.   D   Faulty comparison. Score cannot be compared to Charles. Use Charles’ or Charles’ score.

MEDIUM

26.   B   Diction error. An adverb is needed to modify the verb played. Use loudly.

HARD

27.   B   Shift in number. Because the noun jocks is plural, athlete should also be plural. Use athletes.

MEDIUM

28.   D   Idiom error. In standard English, the objects of the preposition between should be joined by and instead of or.

HARD

29.   B   Pronoun choice. Pronouns in the objective case are used to refer to persons who receive an action. In this sentence, use “the alarm frightened … her.”

HARD

SECTION 2—IMPROVING PARAGRAPHS

30.   B   A. Not a good choice because the purpose of the sentence is to cite one of the reasons used to justify keeping animals in zoos.

B. The phrase is used to introduce an illustration of an idea stated in the previous sentence. It is the best answer.

C. In context, the phrase makes no sense.

D. Not a good choice because it suggests that sentence 2 will rephrase an idea stated in sentence 1.

E. In context, the phrase is irrelevant.

EASY

31.   C   A. In context, disagree is a poor word choice. If anything, the writer disapproves of the parents’ actions described in sentence 3.

B. This revision makes the plural subject of the sentence (reasons) disagree with the singular verb is, found in the contraction There’s.

C. This choice eliminates the comma splice, retains the basic meaning of the sentence, and subordinates one idea to another. It is the best answer.

D. Because the sentence contains a comma splice, this revision fails to improve the sentence appreciably.

E. Because the sentence contains a comma splice, this revision fails to improve the sentence appreciably.

HARD

32.   C   A. This is a sentence fragment. It lacks a main verb.

B. This sentence contradicts the idea stated in sentence 5.

C. This choice develops the point stated in sentence 5. It is the best answer.

D. This choice is irrelevant to the idea in sentence 5.

E. This sentence is written in a hostile and inappropriate tone.

MEDIUM

33.   C   A. This is not a good answer because it contains information that readers already know, and highly charged language is not a good vehicle for passing along information.

B. This is unrelated to the words in question.

C. This is the best answer because the words are meant to shock and disturb the reader.

D. This suggests that the author is trying to be objective, but the words in question are anything but objective.

E. This describes the purpose of the whole essay, not the particular words in question.

HARD

34.   A   A. This introduces the main idea of the paragraph. It is the best answer.

B. Because this choice raises an issue not mentioned in the remainder of the paragraph, it is not a good topic sentence.

C. This contains an idea not discussed in the paragraph, which focuses on how animals behave in captivity, not on living conditions at the zoo.

D. This contains a dangling modifier. The phrase Living in the zoo should modify animals instead of conditions.

E. This contains a frivolous cliché that is inconsistent with the tone of the essay

HARD

35.   B   A. Although grammatical, this choice reverses the cause-effect relationship stated by the original sentences.

B. This accurately and economically conveys the ideas of the original sentences.

C. Lacking a main verb, this choice is a sentence fragment. The –ing forms of verbs (growing, placing, being) may not be used as the main verb without a helping verb, as in was growing, is placing, and so on.

D. This is grammatically correct but stylistically awkward because the subject They is too far removed from the verb would … survive.

E. This is virtually meaningless because the cause-effect relationship has been reversed.

MEDIUM

SECTION 3—IMPROVING SENTENCES

1.   D   A. Dangling participle. The phrase that begins Having a mother should modify Rosie instead of the violin and the piano.

B. Dangling participle. The phrase that begins Having a mother should modify Rosie instead of violin and piano.

C. Dangling participle. The phrase that begins Having a mother should modify Rosie instead of two instruments.

E. Awkwardness. The phrase learned the playing of is awkwardly expressed.

MEDIUM

2.   C   A sentence fragment. The –ing form of a verb (causing) may not be used as the main verb or a clause or sentence without a helping verb, as in is causingwill be causing, and so on.

B. Same as A.

D. Mixed construction. The second clause is not grammatically related to the first clause.

E. Idiom error. The phrase to become ordinarily is not standard English.

MEDIUM

3.   B   A. Tense shift. The sentence, cast in the present tense (does not have), shifts to the future conditional tense (would have to be).

C. Pronoun reference. The pronoun it does not refer to any specific noun or other pronoun.

D. Sentence fragment. The second clause of the compound sentence lacks a main verb. The –ing form of a verb (being) may not be used as the main verb without a helping verb (is being, was being, etc.).

E. Comma splice. A comma may not be used to separate two independent clauses.

MEDIUM

4.   D   A. Sentence fragment. The construction beginning with this, if meant to be a complete sentence, lacks a main verb. The –ing form of a verb (forcing) may not be used as the main verb without a helping verb (is forcing, will be forcing, etc.).

B. Tense shift. The sentence, cast in the present perfect tense (has been) shifts to the past tense.

C. Faulty verb form. The –ing form of a verb (forcing) may not be used as the main verb without a helping verb (is forcing, will be forcing, etc.).

E. Pronoun reference. The pronoun it fails to refer to a specific noun or other pronoun.

MEDIUM

5.   A   B. Subject–verb agreement. Products is plural; is is singular.

C. Subject–verb agreement. Products is plural; produces is singular.

D. Sentence fragment. The construction lacks a main verb.

E. Noun–verb agreement. Products is plural; includes is singular.

MEDIUM

6.   E   A. Faulty comparison. The number of … pennants is being compared to the Boston Red Sox, an illogical comparison.

B. Faulty comparison. The number of … pennants is being compared to the Boston Red Sox, an illogical comparison.

C. Faulty comparison. The Boston Red Sox team is being compared to the number of Yankee pennants, an illogical comparison.

D. Subject–verb agreement. The subject Making is singular; the verb show is plural.

MEDIUM

7.   A   B. Faulty comparison. Illogically, mathematics is compared to American students.

C. Faulty parallelism. Coordinate elements in a comparison must be in parallel form.

D. Wordiness. Although grammatically correct, the construction is wordy.

E. Mixed construction. The construction is not grammatically related to the earlier part of the sentence.

HARD

8.   D   A. Pronoun reference. The pronoun they refers to immigrants when it is meant to refer to restrictions.

B. Pronoun reference. The pronoun they refers to immigrants when it is meant to refer to restrictions.

C. Incomplete construction. The construction lacks a noun to go with the verb have … multiplied.

E. Mixed construction. The phrase since multiplied has no grammatical connection with the previous part of the sentence.

HARD

9.   E   A. Faulty coordination. To make the sentence more effective, the second clause, because it contains information of secondary importance, should be subordinated to the first clause.

B. Misplaced modifier. Only should modify famous composers … instead of Russian.

C. Sentence fragment. The construction lacks a main verb.

D. Sentence fragment. The construction lacks a main verb.

HARD

10.   E   A. Misplaced modifier. Move either to follow intended. Then add to before abolish.

B. Idiom. In context, the phrase about which is not standard English.

C. Parallelism error. Coordinate elements must be in parallel form. Challenging is not in the same form as to abolish. Use or abolishing.

D. Parallelism error. Coordinate elements must be in parallel form. A challenge is not in the same form as or it abolished. Use an attempt to abolish.

HARD

11.   A   B. Pronoun shift. Because the sentence is cast with the impersonal pronoun (one), the second person pronoun you should not be used.

C. Pronoun shift. Because the sentence is cast with the impersonal pronoun (one), the second person pronoun you should not be used.

D. Idiom error. The standard idiom is in the event.

E. Awkwardness. The construction necessary for anyone to write is clumsily worded.

MEDIUM

12.   C   A. Pronoun reference. The pronoun them fails to refer to any specific noun or other pronoun.

B. Comma splice. A comma may not be used to separate two independent clauses.

D. Pronoun reference. The pronoun them fails to refer to any specific noun or other pronoun.

E. Incomplete construction. The construction lacks a noun to go with the verb was.

HARD

13.   B   A. Idiom. The phrase of which is nonstandard usage when referring to a singular noun.

C. Awkwardness. The construction are of appeal is awkwardly worded.

D. Sentence fragment. The construction beginning with the appeal of lacks a verb.

E. Comma splice. A comma may not be used to separate two independent clauses.

HARD

14.   D   A. Misplaced modifier. The phrase that begins mostly using torture should modify countries, not U.N. Commission.

B. Misplaced modifier. The phrase that begins mostly using torture should modify countries, not citizens.

C. Dangling modifier. The construction beginning Punishing citizens should modify countries, not U.N. Commission.

E. Dangling modifier. The construction beginning Punishing citizens should modify countries, not U.N. Commission.

HARD