College PrepSATSAT Reading

How to Answer Add/Delete Questions on SAT® Writing

Add/delete questions ask you to assess whether a given sentence should be added or deleted from the passage. These questions will test your understanding of the passage’s structure and details. You must also pinpoint why a sentence should be added or deleted from the passage.

Example: Should the author make this addition to the end of paragraph 3?

To answer this question, decide whether the sentence provided should be added, and select the answer with accurate reasoning for why it should or should not be added.

Example: The author is considering deleting this sentence from paragraph 3. Should it be deleted for the logic of the text’s claims?

To answer this question, make a judgment about the sentence’s effectiveness.  If the sentence is ineffective or does not make sense for the author’s claims and motivations, delete it and provide your reasoning.

Here are some steps to answer these questions.

To start, ask yourself two questions.
First, what does the sentence in question contribute to the text? Second, is the placement of the sentence accurate and logical?

The SAT question will provide you with a sentence to make a judgment on. Whether you have been asked to assess if it should be added or deleted, it is important first to judge the sentence’s role in the text. Read and understand surrounding contexts to answer these questions. 

The next step is to check out the placement of the sentence. If it is not cohesive with surrounding contexts or the writing style, your decision to add or delete is simplified. Placement is an important factor for deciding whether to add or delete a sentence from the passage.

After considering these factors…
Decide and eliminate answer choices. 

Once you have assessed the sentence’s contributions to the text and observed its placement in the text, you can decide whether you agree that it should be added or deleted from the text.  If a question proposes adding a sentence that does not make sense in the given placement, you can decide “no” to adding it and eliminate two of the answer choices that say “yes.” If a question proposes deleting a sentence that does not make sense in its position, you can decide “yes” to deleting it and eliminate the two answer choices that say “no.”

Think independently. 

After eliminating answer choices that do not match your “yes” or “no” choice, the next step is to establish some evidence for your judgment. Before reading the answer options, make some predictions based on your impressions of the sentence’s function or placement. You can avoid being swayed by the confusing information in the answer choices by thinking independently.

These questions are often straightforward once you eliminate the yes or no choices, but they can be easily confusing if you do not take the time to understand the sentence’s contributions (or lack thereof). As you practice for the Writing test, use these steps to improve your performance with add/delete questions. Test the effectiveness of these steps using UWorld’s SAT Prep course, where thousands of questions and detailed explanations can guide your studies and boost your scores.