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Transitions — Worked example

Learn the best way to approach a transitions question on your SAT. Transitions reflect the relationship between ideas, which usually fall into the following categories: agreement or disagreement, sequence and order, addition and exemplification, and cause and effect. Summarize the ideas before and after the blank, then choose the transition that best captures the relationship between those ideas.. Created by David Rheinstrom.

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Video transcript

- [Instructor] Let's take a look at this question from the reading and writing test. To discover which fruit varieties were grown in Italy's Umbria region before the introduction of industrial farming, botanist Isabella Dalla Ragione often turns to centuries-old lists of cooking ingredients. Blank, she analyzes Renaissance paintings of Umbria, as they can provide accurate representations of fruits that were grown there long ago. Which choice completes the text with the most logical transition? All right, so it's right there on the tin. This is a prime example of a transitions question. You'll run into a bunch of these items on test day. This is a relatively common question type. As you saw in the example question, you'll be presented a short paragraph of two to three sentences. You'll be asked to choose the most logical transition words to connect those sentences. Every choice will be grammatically correct, so your focus should be on the ideas in the sentences and not the grammar of the sentences. And that means the answer to the question, the most logical transition, will reflect the relationships between those ideas. But what does that mean? Well, let's look at some of the ways ideas can relate to one another. They can agree or disagree with each other, which means we'd want to look for agreement words like similarly or disagreement words like however or but. They can be placed into a sequence or order, and there we're looking for words like previously, later, or subsequently. They can add on or exemplify, that is, one idea can elaborate on the other and serve as example for it. For addition transitions, we're looking for words like moreover and also, and for exemplification transitions, we're on the hunt for phrases like for example or for instance. And finally, there's a sequence transition for you, there can be a cause and effect relationship between ideas. One causes the other, and there you look for words like therefore, thus, or because. So with these four relationship types in mind, let's talk about how to approach one of these questions, and then try out this technique on that fruits of Umbria question I read a few minutes ago. What's our strategy? So we wanna find the most logical transition between the ideas, which means we first need to understand the idea. So step one, summarize the text in our own words. We figure out the ideas in play, and then we can figure out how they logically fit together, which brings us to step two, identifying the relationship between those two ideas. Are they agreeing? Does one idea cause the other as an effect? Once we've decided which category of transition we're looking for, we can move on to step three, choosing a transition that matches the relationship between the ideas. All right, let's head back to our question and try this out. But first, let's cover up the choices so that they don't distract us from really understanding what kind of transition we need. Okay, step one, let's summarize the text. Sentence one, we've got this Italian botanist, right? She looks at old recipes to figure out what kind of fruits they used to grow in Umbria. Sentence two, she looks at Renaissance paintings from the region to see which fruits were local during that period of history. So what's the relationship between these two sentences? Are they in conflict? No, they both seem to serve the same purpose, which is figuring out how the botanist determined what kinds of fruits they used to have in Umbria. They're in agreement, but let's keep going. Is it a cause effect relationship? Nah, looking at recipes doesn't cause her to look at paintings, or vice versa. Are they the same? Is one an example for the other? Nah, I don't think so. Looking at paintings is something Dalla Ragione is doing, as well as looking at recipes, because both things serve the same purpose for her botanical research. So I think that the relationship that most logically links these two ideas is going to be an additive transition. So I'm predicting that we're going to be looking for a word like also. So let's take a look at the answer choices and see if we've got anything that matches that prediction. And choice A is additionally. That matches our prediction, that's our answer. Magnifico. Look, if this were test day, I'd just select this choice and move on to the next question. But let's take some time now to look more closely at the other choices. Choice B is thus, which is a cause and effect transition. Thus is kinda like therefore. It's not like she's looking at paintings as a logical result of looking at ingredient lists, so we can cross that out. Choice C is instead, which is a disagreement transition, and choice D is in sum, which is sort of like saying in summary. So that's no good. Choice A is our best option here. So let me hit you with a couple of top tips here for handling transition words questions. First, cover the choices. You wanna develop your own theory of the case before you start looking at your options. And you do that by making a prediction, figuring out the relationship and coming up with a word or a phrase that represents that relationship between ideas. And be flexible. You won't always see the exact word you might have predicted. A wide variety of words can fit into each category, so open your mind to the possibilities. You might be looking for an in addition, when also is right in front of you. And that's transitions on the digital SAT. Good luck out there, test takers, you've got this.