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The SAT Writing and Language Test: What to expect

An overview of the SAT Writing and Language Test.

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Video transcript

The SAT consists of tests in Reading, Writing and Language, and Math – plus an optional Essay. This video focuses on the Writing and Language test. In this test, you’ll use your skills and knowledge to revise and edit passages. You will have 35 minutes to read four passages and answer 44 multiple-choice questions. The topics for the four passages are careers, science, humanities, and history or social studies. The writing modes of these four passages will vary: one will be narrative, at least one will be argumentative, and at least one will be informative or explanatory. Certain passages and some questions will include tables, graphs, or charts. A graphic may provide additional support for a point made in the passage. Questions may ask you to use the graphic to correct an error in the passage or to replace the passage’s vague description with a more precise one. The passages and questions will appear this way in your test booklet. The passages may extend to more than one page, so don’t assume a passage is over until you see the title of the next one. The question numbers within the passage will help you determine the section the question is targeting. When you see underlined text after the boxed number, you will be asked which of the four answers results in the most effective expression in the context of the passage. Some questions that ask about an underlined portion in the passage offer directions or ask an actual question. When there are no additional directions or questions, assume that you have to choose the answer that’s the most effective or correct. Choose the “NO CHANGE” answer if you think the original version presented in the passage is the best choice; otherwise, pick one of the three alternatives offered in the question. When you see a boxed number and nothing else in the sentence, the question will tell you exactly what to do. When the paragraphs or sentences in a passage are numbered, you will have a question about where a particular sentence or paragraph should be placed. All of the questions on this test are based on the context of the passages. You won’t be tested on isolated skills or asked to identify specific grammar rules. There are two categories of questions. In the first, Expression of Ideas, you will be asked to improve the development of the topic, the organization of information and ideas, and the effectiveness of the language. The second category is Standard English Conventions. These questions will ask you to recognize and correct errors in sentence structure, grammar, usage and punctuation. You’re in the right place to learn more about the SAT Writing and Language Test – right here on Khan Academy. So, let’s get started with some free hands-on practice!