SAT 2016



Writing and Language Test


Turn to Section 2 of your answer sheet to answer the questions in this section.


Each passage below is accompanied by a number of questions. For some questions, you will consider how the passage might be revised to improve the expression of ideas. For other questions, you will consider how the passage might be edited to correct errors in sentence structure, usage, or punctuation. A passage or a question may be accompanied by one or more graphics (such as a table or graph) that you will consider as you make revising and editing decisions.

Some questions will direct you to an underlined portion of a passage. Other questions will direct you to a location in a passage or ask you to think about the passage as a whole.

After reading each passage, choose the answer to each question that most effectively improves the quality of writing in the passage or that makes the passage conform to the conventions of Standard Written English. Many questions include a “NO CHANGE” option. Choose that option if you think the best choice is to leave the relevant portion of the passage as it is.

Questions 111 are based on the following passage and supplementary material.

Who Really Owns American Media?

In this era of blogging, news websites, and personalized Twitter feeds, most of us believe that we have more choice than ever 1 in how we get our news. But unless you’re particularly 2 apt about the world of journalism, you might be surprised to learn how few choices we really have.



B)   with getting

C)   of the way we get

D)   of getting



B)   acute

C)   savvy

D)   comprehensive

Thirty years ago, 50 different corporations owned 90% of the American broadcast and news media. Today, just 6 large conglomerates 3 have the same control over that media, which is still 90%. These huge corporations have successfully lobbied the U.S. Congress to loosen or dismantle federal antitrust regulations. These regulations were designed to prevent any one corporation from driving out 4 their competition and controlling public discourse. The debate on this issue centers on the balance between liberties and governmental interference. Some argue that a corporation’s freedom to acquire media and voice its opinion trumps any right the public may have to diverse points of view. 5 The other argument would be that our constitutional freedom of the press requires regulation in order to maintain a free market of ideas and an informed citizenry.



B)   control that same 90% of all media

C)   control the same media, all 90% of it

D)   are in the same 90% control of all media



B)   the competition they have

C)   its competition

D)   it’s competition



B)   Others argue

C)   Others would argue

D)   Another being

According to data from 2007, the American media does not quite look like America. Although fully 33% of the American population was minority, 6 only 3.2% of American broadcast television outlets were controlled by minorities.

One potent antidote 7 regarding media consolidation is the Internet. 8 With some research, it reveals many resources for the curious and intelligent media consumer to hear informed voices from a wide variety of perspectives.


Which of the following best represents the information from Figure 1?


B)   only 3.2% of the minority population controlled American broadcast television outlets

C)   only 3.2% of the American population included minorities in control of broadcast television outlets

D)   only 3.2% of American broadcast television stations were watched by minorities



B)   about

C)   against

D)   to



B)   It will reveal with some research

C)   Some research will reveal

D)   With some research, it will reveal


9 Although the Web abounds with gossip, partisanship, and fear-mongering from many major outlets, and conspiracy theorists on the fringe, the careful viewer can also find thoughtful analysis and civilized debate of the issues. Sites like ProPublica,, and NPR provide in-depth, nonprofit, public-supported journalism that is less influenced by any corporate or political agenda.

10 Therefore, sensationalism sells, and the media conglomerates have mastered the art. As the first great American media mogul, William Randolph Hearst, said, “If you want the public in sufficient numbers, construct a highway. Advertising is that highway.” Without large advertising and lobbying budgets, these nonpartisan 11 instances of journalism will have a difficult time competing with the big boys.


The author wants to introduce this sentence with a representation of modern media that contrasts with the ideal of “civilized debate.” Does this introduction accomplish this task?

A)   Yes, because it suggests that controversial matters are ignored in modern media.

B)   Yes, because it refers to relatively unsophisticated modes of conversation.

C)   No, because it focuses on entertainment rather than any examination of issues.

D)   No, because it refers to hypothetical situations rather than real ones.



B)   Still

C)   Lastly

D)   In summary



B)   patterns

C)   receptacles

D)   repositories

Questions 1222 are based on the following passage.

The Dangers of Superstition

Have you ever knocked on wood to dodge a jinx? Do you avoid stepping on cracks in the sidewalk? Do you feel uneasy about the number 13? Most of us realize that these 12 rituals, which are based on ancient and discredited beliefs, but we can’t so easily rid our minds of superstitious thinking. Every culture has its own superstitious beliefs, 13 and now anthropologists and psychologists are beginning to understand why.

Our brains constantly work to find cause-and-effect patterns in the world. When something strange happens that we can’t explain, or seems to 14 collid against what we already believe, we get an uncomfortable feeling known as “cognitive dissonance.” We reflexively fill this gap in knowledge with the explanations that are most easily available to us. 15 Since we are willful beings surrounded by other willful beings, and every conscious moment of our lives is filled with a sense of “agency,” 16 that is: intentional action. Therefore, we imagine tiny beings living in wood, or vaporous spirits roaming the clouds that do strange or harmful things when we displease them. Willful agency is our “default” explanation.



B)   rituals, that are based on

C)   rituals have been based on

D)   rituals are based on



B)   for

C)   so

D)   while



B)   contradict

C)   disengage

D)   go away from



B)   Because we

C)   We

D)   So we



B)   that is, intentional action

C)   which is what intentional action is

D)   which is: intentional action

[1] Our brains are creative. [2] They can design buildings, compose music, and 17 can formulate scientific theories. [3] But this creativity is sometimes hard to discipline, and so we are susceptible to strange thoughts and superstitions. [4] Many of these, like blessing people when they sneeze, are harmless if not quaint. [5] In 2014, villagers in Nigeria brought a goat into a police station, accusing it of being a witch that had attempted to steal a car and then changed into a goat. 18



B)   also can formulate

C)   have formulated

D)   formulate


The author is considering adding the following sentence to this paragraph.

Others are sad and bizarre, such as the belief in shape-shifting.

Where should it be placed?

A)   before sentence 2

B)   before sentence 3

C)   before sentence 4

D)   before sentence 5

Although superstitious explanations relieve our cognitive dissonance, 19 it might also lead to tragedy. In 2014, people in Paraguay and Tanzania were killed because locals accused them of witchcraft. 20 Some superstitious parents have even beaten or disowned their own children because their strange behavior is attributed to demonic possession. Superstitions are also not harmless when they impede the pursuit of science, placing obstacles in the way of medical and technological breakthroughs that can improve the human condition.

Rituals intended to help your favorite football team score, like dancing or wearing your hat backward, are fun and innocuous. They 21 substitute a craving in our brains for control over situations that otherwise mystify us. 22



B)   it can

C)   they can

D)   they would



B)   Some superstitious parents, believing that any strange behavior is a sign of demonic possession, have even beaten or disowned their own children.

C)   Even beating or disowning their own children, many superstitious parents attribute their strange behavior to demonic possession.

D)   Some superstitious parents, believing that their strange behavior is a sign of demonic possession, have even beaten or disowned their own children.



B)   discharge

C)   exempt

D)   satisfy


Which concluding sentence would be most in keeping with the content and tone of the passage as a whole?

A)   However, feeling like we have control over a situation is not always the same as understanding it.

B)   They represent some of humanity’s greatest accomplishments, and have inspired some of our greatest works of art.

C)   Centuries from now, our rituals may become so elaborate that we would scarcely recognize them as such today.

D)   Without such rituals, we would not feel as connected to the people or the natural world around us.

Questions 2333 are based on the following passage.

Skepticism and the Scientific Method

Even scientists sometimes forget how essential skepticism, particularly self-skepticism, is to the scientific process. But scientific skepticism is driven by evidence, not agenda. Today, the field of climatology seems to have more than its share of skeptics, debating 23 a warming planet and the things that should be done by us about it, if anything.

24 They are coming from outside of the scientific community, many of these skeptics couch their arguments in political terms. Some claim that global warming is part of a partisan “left-wing” plot or a ploy by the scientific community to ensure funding for yet another “Chicken Little” scare. Others suggest that attempts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by changing energy or land use policies 25 would provide a needless cost of the American taxpayer of tens to hundreds of billions of dollars annually. Some even suggest that they are really part of an international conspiracy to undermine America’s competitiveness in the global marketplace.



B)   what should be done about a warming planet, if we should

C)   what, if anything, we should do about a warming planet

D)   the things we should do about a warming planet, if we should



B)   While coming

C)   Their coming

D)   Coming



B)   would be needless in costing the American taxpayer

C)   would needlessly cost the American taxpayer

D)   is a needless cost to the American taxpayer of

At the same time, others who legitimately question the data or theories related to climate change are too quickly labeled right-wing “deniers,” even if their concerns are not motivated by any partisan convictions.

In fact, science has, or should have, nothing to do with ideology. Rather, it 26 is a process of identifying significant natural phenomena, gathering evidence about those phenomena, and 27 then we must find the most reliable explanation for that evidence. The preponderance of the evidence suggests that the earth is getting warmer, that the effects of that warming will be problematic, that there are things we can do to prevent or at least mitigate the worst outcomes, and 28 perhaps that many of these things are well worth doing. There is still plenty of uncertainty about the complex systems that make up our planetary climate, but we know enough to be concerned, 29 and to discuss the issue without politicizing it.



B)   accounts for

C)   represents

D)   symbolizes



B)   finding the most reliable explanation for

C)   then explaining in the most reliable way

D)   finding the most reliable way for explaining



B)   also that many of these things perhaps may be

C)   many of these things perhaps may be

D)   that many of these things may be


In the context of the passage as a whole, which of the following completes the sentence most appropriately?


B)   and to expose the agendas of those who stand in the way of saving our planet

C)   but not enough to risk sacrificing our political or economic security

D)   and to create a strong incentive program to transform our national energy policy

The skeptics point out, rightly, that science isn’t about consensus. The fact that 98% of climatologists regard something as true 30 isn’t the same as it being true. After all, only centuries ago the majority of physicians worldwide believed that illnesses were caused not by germs or genetics, 31 but by demons or imbalances in “humors.”

[1] Having an honest and productive conversation about global warming 32 requires an educated public. [2] When we, as public citizens, become more informed about the science of climatology, we become less susceptible to political sniping and to “consensus” as an argument. [3] Most important, perhaps, we become better able to make good decisions about the future of our nation and our planet. 33



B)   won’t make that true

C)   would not mean it’s that way

D)   doesn’t make it so



B)   but instead from

C)   but from

D)   they thought it was by



B)   requires the need for

C)   requires our being

D)   require having


The author is considering inserting the following sentence into this paragraph.

Furthermore, we become more adept at evaluating the facts and theories at the heart of the matter.

Where should it be placed?

A)   before sentence 1

B)   before sentence 2

C)   before sentence 3

D)   after sentence 3

Questions 3444 are based on the following passage.

The Magic of Bohemia

Bohemia is a landlocked country in central 34 Europe, and until 1918 they were ruled from Vienna by the Austrian Hapsburgs. Today it 35 regards a major part of the modern Czech Republic, and its largest city, Prague, serves as the nation’s capital. Bohemia is also another, less clearly defined country, a country of the mind. This Bohemia in fact derives from misconceptions about the true Bohemia that go back as far as Shakespeare, 36 designating Bohemia as the land of gypsies and the spiritual habitation of artists.

By 1843, when Michael William Balfe’s opera The Bohemian Girl premiered in London, the term Bohemian 37 would come to mean any wandering or vagabond soul, who need not have been associated with the arts. The Parisian poet Henry Murger clinched the term’s special association with the life of artists.

In November 1849, a dramatized version of Murger’s Latin Quarter tales was staged in Paris with the title La Vie de Bohème. So extraordinarily successful 38 did this prove that the stories themselves were published as Scènes de la Vie de Bohème. The public’s appetite was whetted and a popular cult of the gypsy-artist was underway. Murger’s volume of stories became the textbook for the artistic life throughout the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.



B)   Europe, until 1918 it was ruled

C)   Europe, which, until 1918, was ruled

D)   Europe, having been, until 1918, ruled



B)   amounts to

C)   establishes

D)   comprises



B)   who designated Bohemia

C)   he had designated Bohemia

D)   being designated by him



B)   had come to mean

C)   came to have meant

D)   had meant



B)   was this proven

C)   this was proved

D)   this proved

39 What was it that were the basic elements of this Bohemia as it evolved under Murger? To start with, Bohemia belonged to the romantic movements that preached the power of the individual imagination and came to adopt a secular religion of art. Like early Christianity, it had its true believers and its heathens. The believers in this case were the artists themselves, the elect of the spirit, touched with the divine power of imagination, while the heathen were the commercial middle classes who had 40 propagated as a result of increased commodity production in the wake of the Industrial Revolution.

[1] To the artists, these were people of no imagination who were only concerned with material things. [2] As Philistines, they seemed inhabit a different country from that of the 41 Bohemians; Murger’s achievement was to define, quite persuasively, the boundaries of Bohemia in terms of a particular lifestyle. [3] In his Bohemia, the production of art was in fact less important than 42 whether one had the capacity for art. [4] Murger was also responsible for the term Bohemian becoming inseparably linked with the supposedly unconventional, outlandish behavior of artists, yet it is evident that he did not invent Bohemianism. [5]



B)   What were they that were the basic elements

C)   What basic elements were there

D)   What were the basic elements



B)   propitiated

C)   prospered

D)   preempted



B)   Bohemians, Murger had the achievement of defining

C)   Bohemians, but Murger’s achievement was in defining

D)   Bohemians; but Murger achieved defining



B)   the capacity for art

C)   whether one has the capacity for art

D)   one’s capacity of art

Most of its ingredients had existed in Paris for at least two decades before he started writing. 43

Bohemia had been a haven for the political rebel and, as the nineteenth century drew to a close, more than one French observer had seen it as the breeding-ground of cynicism, as the source of much potential danger. “It is quite clear,” Jules Claretie wrote indignantly in 1888, “that every country has its Bohemians. But they do not have the influence over the rest of the nation which they do in France—thanks to that poisonous element in the French character which is known as la blague—or cynicism.” 44


The author is considering including the following sentence in this paragraph.

Murger can thus be described as a Bohemian of the second generation.

Where should it be placed?

A)   after sentence 1

B)   after sentence 2

C)   after sentence 3

D)   after sentence 5


If the author were to delete the quotation from Jules Claretie at the conclusion of this paragraph, the passage would primarily lose

A)   a sanguine view of the late nineteenth-century French culture

B)   an scathing perspective on Murger’s literary work

C)   a dire assessment of France’s national temperament

D)   an urgent warning against a potential immigration problem


If you finish before time is called, you may check your work on this section only. Do not turn to any other section of the test.