SAT test makers write an essay question, they give you a little bit of
information. Generally, it does not take
much thought to agree with whatever has been stated, or to simply use the exact
same words in the prompt to frame your essay.
Really high scoring students know that the way the question is phrased
may prompt students to answer one way when normally they might answer another
way. For example, read this SAT essay
“There is, of course, no legitimate branch of science that enables
us to predict the future accurately. Yet
the degree of change in the world is so overwhelming and so promising, that the
future, I believe, is far brighter than anyone has contemplated since the end
of the Second World War. Assignment
: Is the world changing for
Now, you may really believe the world is changing for the better,
but this prompt leads many students to answer yes without providing good
reasons. Maybe the world is fixing one
problem while a new problem develops.
Maybe someone needs to point out that there have been many wars after
World War II. Before you answer a
prompt, rephrase the question in your own words and be sure that you know what
it is asking and whether the prompt itself is influencing your thought about
the subject. You want your essay to
clearly demonstrate that you have a reason beyond the prompt to think the way
that you do.
Leading questions occur outside the SAT too. Check out this current event
that shows that
how people ask questions can change the results of polls about global
warming. If you want to use this as one
of your five prepared current events, make notes about the broad themes in this
article as well as specific details and facts that you can use to back up an opinion
on an SAT essay prompt.
Reading: Sentence Completions
Choose the word or set of
words that, when inserted in the sentence, best fits the
meaning of the sentence as a whole.
Cover up your answer
choices as you read the sentence carefully.
That way, incorrect answers will not distract you as you predict a word
to fill the blank. When you have your
prediction, match it to the correct answer choice. Eliminate any answer that does not match your
prediction. Make sure that you look at
all of the answer choices before you select an answer.
Bolstered by his unflagging determination
and ------- physical preparation, Tom Whittaker became the first
amputee to successfully climb to the summit of Mount Everest.
Did you notice two Knowsys
SAT words in the sentence? Even if you
do not know what “bolstered” and “unflagging” mean, you know that Whittaker was
determined to climb the mountain and that he was successful. In order to do that he, he must have trained
hard. Predict that his physical
preparation was “persistent,” “diligent,” “steady,” or even “unflagging,” if
you recognize the term. Then look down
at your answer choices.
(A) Perhaps you know that the
Latin root “fort” generally means strong and figure that Whittaker’s
preparation made him stronger. Or
perhaps you link this word to the word “fortunate” and realize that this is a
positive word. This answer choice is here to trick you. The word “fortuitous” does not just mean
“fortunate,” although many fortuitous occurrences are fortunate. The word “fortuitous” is related to the idea
of chance, of accidental luck. There is
no way that Whittaker accidentally practiced or that he got lucky and just
ended up physically prepared – he worked hard.
Bottom line: this choice doesn’t really match your prediction. Eliminate it.
(B) Assiduous is a
difficult word. If you don’t know it,
you cannot eliminate it.
(C) If you heed something, you pay attention to
it. Being heedless would be the opposite
of paying attention. You know that Whittaker
paid attention to physical preparation.
Eliminate this choice.
(D) Knowsys word!
If you don’t know the definition right away, think of expedited
shipping. That is when you pay extra to
make sure a package gets somewhere quickly.
The idea here is not to prepare for the climb quickly, but to prepare
for it in such a way as to be ready for the challenge. “Expeditious” does not mean “diligent.” Eliminate this choice.
(E) This word is going to be really confusing if
you assume that the Latin root “ped” means “foot.” The same root can also mean “child.” If you know that teachers have been called
“pedagogues,” you will realize that this word also does not match your
prediction. “Pedantic” means acting like
a teacher, especially in situations where no one wants a teacher. Eliminate this choice.
You only have one answer
remaining. If you have eliminated all
the other answer choices for specific reasons, then you can confidently select
that answer, even if you do not know precisely what it means.
The correct answer is (B).
: encouraged or supported
: not declining in strength
or vigor, tireless
: a person who has had a
: happening by a lucky
: hard-working, diligent, or industrious
: unaware, not noticing
: fast, prompt, speedy
: teaching or ostentatious
in one’s learning, too concerned about formal details