Grammar rules may not have changed, but they are tested in new ways on the digital SAT, and students must learn new strategies and develop new habits to be prepared for Test Day.
Here are 5 simple tips to help you improve on the Writing questions on the digital SAT.
- Identify the differences between answers to determine what’s important. If the differences are all about commas, semi-colons, or colons, then you need to look for clauses; if the differences are verb structures, then you need to find the subject and tense; if the differences are about apostrophes, then you need to look for possession. The differences tell us what to focus on.
- Choose short, simple answers with minimal punctuation. When in doubt, choose answers that use fewer words and less punctuation.
- Punctuate with a purpose: If you’re using punctuation, make sure you know why. Remember, “commas are for clauses not for pauses”. If you can’t explain why a piece of punctuation is needed, it’s probably unnecessary.
- Read under your breath to hear the correct phrasing. This activates a different part of our brain than when we read silently. For some questions, you might not know exactly why an answer is correct, but you can feel that it’s simply more natural when you say it out loud.
- Read the WHOLE passage to make sure you have all the information you need. The SAT loves to use long sentences, and we must consider the content and structure of the entire sentence, not just the clause we’re being asked about. Sometimes other sentences will have crucial information, too, especially when it comes to questions about tense, number agreement, and pronouns.