Preparation Strategies You Should Know to Score High on Your SAT® Writing Test

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Learn the skills you need to prepare for your writing test, including information on what areas you have to pay attention to, how to spot grammatical errors, and how to find the correct answer quickly.
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As you begin your SAT® prep, here are some skills and strategies to practice for the Writing test.

1. Answer Some Questions as You Go

As you read a passage, skim for the main ideas and the general writing style. When you encounter an underlined sentence, find its error, then answer the correlating question. Answering questions as you go is a technique used to save time.

2. Understand Basic Grammar Rules

As you examine an underlined sentence, you should look for specific errors, rather than focusing on what sounds right. 

Answer choices may trick you by sounding grammatically accurate while containing flaws that are hard to catch without a knowledge of grammar rules. 

Don’t just go off of what sounds right to you. It is important to look at the sentences critically and practice finding errors.

3. The Most Concise Answer Is Often Correct

If multiple answers look grammatically correct, choose the one that is the most concise. Some questions will ask you to improve sentences, and you will likely need to implement your skills with sentence conciseness. 

Improving a sentence’s wordiness is common. You should also keep an eye out for answer choices that are off-topic, and eliminate them immediately.

4. Know How to Spot Grammatical Inconsistencies and Punctuation Errors

Pay attention to consistencies in verb tenses, subjects, parallels, and comparisons within a sentence or paragraph. You should practice scanning for inconsistencies in structure and grammar while also looking for punctuation errors.

The most common mistakes you will interact with have to do with commas, dashes, semicolons, colons, and apostrophes.

5. Save the Longer Questions for the End

Some of the questions in the SAT Writing test will ask you to consider the passage’s structure, possibly asking you to rearrange paragraphs or sentence structure to make the argument more concise or effective. Save these questions for the end, as you will have developed your understanding of the passage and read it in its entirety.

6. Pay Attention to Transitions Between Ideas

Some questions will ask you to look at the transitions and relationships between ideas. Practice pinpointing how the ideas are related and select transition words that display how two ideas reinforce each other, contrast each other, occur in a series or sequence, or lead to one another through cause and effect. 

You can practice each of these strategies through UWorld’s SAT Prep courses. Discover which strategies and tactics work best for you through our practice tests and performance tracking tools.

Find ways to improve throughout the writing section and reach your goal score through sample questions and detailed explanations for each answer. 

It is a good idea to try each of the skills listed above and evaluate how they affect your scores. Practice tests are a fantastic way to test these strategies out!

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