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SAT

Unit 11: Lesson 3

Writing: Grammar

Precise word choice | Quick guide

What is "precise" word choice?

What's on the test?

Tips and strategies

Your turn!

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  • blobby green style avatar for user tom.chen
    What if I don't know what is the right word to put in? I can't tell the difference between two choices.
    (32 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user Milind Mishra
    what should I do if I do not know the meaning of the words given in the option
    (5 votes)
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    • piceratops ultimate style avatar for user Hecretary Bird
      Well, then you have a problem. Take a look at any of the word roots you can identify and try and guess at the meaning. Let's say I didn't know what "promote" meant. I know "pro" means good or forwards, and I might have heard a word that uses "mot" like "motion". I could make the guess then that "promote" means "to move forward" or something. Based on the context, I can deduce that the passage isn't talking about literally pushing something forwards, and I might stumble upon the thought that it means to push an idea forwards, if I'm lucky enough. If not, it might be best to just guess quickly on the problem. If you've eliminated every other answer, choose the word you don't know. If another answer looks promising, choose it over the word you don't know. Hope this helps.
      (37 votes)
  • blobby green style avatar for user Yulia Ivanova
    What is the best way to study for this section? I find myself struggling on this part of the test. I have done many practice problems but can't seem to tell which is the right answer.
    (12 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user delanie.loya6y
    How can I help my choosing between two words when both I know are very similar?
    (11 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user ulhaskanaskar
    I am following short of time in solving English section, can u give me any tips for that
    (2 votes)
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    • piceratops ultimate style avatar for user Hecretary Bird
      Most English questions are relatively simple, and can be solved in under half a minute by really good test takers. If you see a question and there looks to be two answer choices that could both work, you have to be missing something. The Writing test, more than the other parts of the SAT, is about searching for details. If you scan answer choices more efficiently, you can pick up on those details faster. One technique you can use is to look at the differences between answer choices instead of the answer choices themselves. Most answer choices will use relatively similar wording and everything, but switch out a comma for a semicolon or something like that. Instead of going through the answers one by one and seeing which is right, go through each part of the 4 answers and see which attributes they have, and then decide which attributes are wrong, and eliminate the answers that have those attributes.
      For example, let's say you had:
      a) Jenny had a big truck
      b) Jenny, had a big truck
      c) Jenny, has a big truck
      d) Jenny have big truck
      Then, you would look for the parts of the answer choices that vary among them, which will be the parts that let u answer the question. You'd make the following observations:
      b) and c) have a comma after Jenny.
      c) uses "has"
      d) uses "have"
      d) does not have "a" before "big truck"
      Look at the comma first. If its wrong, then b) and c) are wrong, and if not, a) and d) are wrong. From there, just find another detail that doesn't fit on one of the remaining answers and the question's done.
      (18 votes)
  • blobby green style avatar for user Kerem Bozdogan
    As a non-native English speaker I am having a fairly hard time managing time on reading and writing questions but I am having no problems with maths exam. I was wondering if I could use the extra time I save with maths in reading and writing or do they take place in different time periods?
    (5 votes)
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    • piceratops ultimate style avatar for user Hecretary Bird
      Unfortunately, you can't do this. Everybody does one section, and then only after the time runs out do you continue with the next section, and you can never turn back to work on a past section, or anything that isn't being tested at the time. No flipping between sections is allowed on the SAT, sadly.
      (6 votes)
  • blobby green style avatar for user faichav21
    what do i do if two answers sound correct?
    (6 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user aya.sh830910
    Can we choose (the shorter is better) in the word choice lesson?
    (2 votes)
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  • leaf red style avatar for user Ayanna Johns
    how many questions on the test
    (3 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user rantitomiwa
    if the choices are similar wat is the best way to pick the right option?
    (1 vote)
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    • piceratops ultimate style avatar for user Hecretary Bird
      The choices can't be the same exact thing; if so, then why even have two different words for that idea in the first place? Think about all the places that you've seen the two similar words before, and think about things like the tone of the word and its connotation if the meanings are too close together. For example, "pain" and "agony" mean close to the same thing, but "agony" is used for more severe pain and is more often used for emotional suffering than pain is. Look at the small things.
      (2 votes)