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09/07/2019

how to improve verbal section in sat exam?

QUESTION
how to improve verbal section in sat exam?

ANSWER
Hi Vivek,

Which verbal section are you trying to improve? The reading? The writing? I don’t have the space here (there is a limit!) to actually go into detail about each section, but I’ll give you some highlights from each:

READING:
To improve in vocab, study “repeat offender” words that frequently appear on the SAT. You can find a list of them in the “Reading Flashcards” here: http://www.powerscore.com/sat/help/content_flashcards.cfm.

Reading speed is critical, and the only way to improve speed, while retaining comprehension, is practice. The link (http://www.powerscore.com/sat/help/reading_comp_practice.cfm) lists magazines that have supplied SAT reading passages in the past, so the current and archived articles in these magazines make good practice passages.

On the actual test, there is almost always one ridiculously wrong answer choice, so you should almost always guess on these questions. Researchers have proven that by guessing EVERY SINGLE TIME you eliminate at least 1 answer choice, you will gain more points than you will lose. I never leave a Reading (or Writing) question blank.

As for the questions and answer choices, remember that there is only one right answer. Something makes the other four answer choices wrong, whether it be a simple word or a complex idea. Try to prephrase an answer to the question before you ever look at the answer choices. Then, avoid answers that are the opposite of your prephrase; these answers often use the same words that were used in the passage, while the right answer relies on synonyms. For example if the text uses the phrase “ferocious antagonism,” the wrong, opposite answer will likely use either “ferocious,””antagonism,” or “ferocious antagonism.” The right answer will use synonyms like “savage opposition,” or “merciless dissension.” Also avoid those answers that use extreme words like “never,” “only,” and “always.” It’s much easier to defend an answer choice that uses “some” than an answer that uses “most.” Other extreme words include adjectives like “hostile,” “dismayed,” and “absurd.”

WRITING:
In my experience, here are the things you need to score higher on essays:
1. Proof that your example supports your thesis. You do this by showing how things might have been different if you example took a different approach.
2. Word choice. You need to use 3 or 4 higher level vocab words. Be careful not to use too many.
3. Transitions. You need them between paragraphs and between some sentences.
4. Varied sentence structure. You need some long, complex sentences (those that start with a dependent clause) and some short, simple sentences.

To improve in the grammar portion, it’s really about learning the core 20 to 25 errors and then becoming proficient at spotting them and correcting them. Here is a sampling of the most popular errors:

1. Subject Verb Agreement Errors
2. Verb Tense Errors (i.e. “is” vs “was” and the presence of two “had”s in a sentence)
3. Verb Form Errors (watch for verbs ending in -ing that are not really verbs)
4. Noun Agreement Errors (i.e., “platypuses are the only mammal that lays eggs” vs. “platypuses are the only mammals that lay eggs”)
5. Pronoun Antecedent Agreement Errors
6. Pronoun Choice Errors (i.e. I vs me)
7. Pronoun Reference Errors (ambiguous and implied pronouns)
8. Modifier Choice Errors (i.e. calm vs calmly)
9. Modifier Placement Errors (misplaced modifiers and dangling modifiers)
10. Coordinating Conjunction Errors (and, but, or)
11. Subordinating Conjunction Errors (although, despite, etc.)
12. Correlating Conjunction Errors (either..or vs either..and)
13. Parallel Structure Errors (“types and signs” vs “types and will be signing”)
14. Comparison Errors (comparative degree, double comparisons, and parallelism)
15. Run-Ons, Fragments, and Comma Splices Errors
16. Idiom Errors (“right at that moment” vs “right on that moment”)

Good luck!