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Writing: Strong Support — Video lesson

David demonstrates a Strong Support question on the SAT Writing and Language test. Created by David Rheinstrom.

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Video transcript

- [Instructor] In this video, we're going to talk about questions that ask you to choose strong evidence or strong support for something. You know, you might be asked to support a specific argument from a passage or a claim in a paragraph, or maybe an idea introduced by the question. On test day, you'll see one to two of these questions. So let's jump in. So this passage is about Michelangelo's famous marble statue of David, the biblical figure in Florence, Italy. And while I know we're just talking about question 31 here, let's pretend as though we've been reading the passage, mostly just to get this context. "Michelangelo had overcome the limitations of the marble block, and moreover, had turned it into a technical and artistic masterpiece. Now to question 31. Which choice gives a second reason and additional support for the main idea of the paragraph? Okay, so we haven't even read the paragraph yet, in question, that's going to be in here. 'Cause that's where question 31 is. So we'll read this paragraph. We'll figure out the main idea. There's one reason already present. So we need to come up with a second reason and additional support. So let's take a look at the paragraph. "Upon viewing the stunning statue," so we know it's, it really is gorgeous, "guild members discarded the idea to hoist the statue to an exterior buttress." They decided not to lift it up to the exterior of a building. "It was far too beautiful." And I'm gonna skip this underline because it's one of our choices, and I don't want to be influenced by it. "It was far too beautiful," that's reason one, "to be placed high above its viewers. After meeting with city officials and prominent citizens, the members agreed that the statue should instead stand outside of Florence's town hall as a symbol and representation of the city's strength and independence." You know, now that I look at it, that feels a little redundant to me. Symbol and representation of feels a little redundant. So I know what I'd be looking for when I get to question 32 which is a choice that doesn't say the same thing in two ways. Okay, let's continue. "Thus, the guild members achieved their goal of enhancing Florence's prestige." So for me, the main idea from this paragraph is that guild members and city leaders decided not to lift the statue. They instead decided to put it on ground level where people could see it because it was so beautiful. It's so pretty. So we're looking for something that gives good, strong support to that idea. Why not lift the statue? So now let's look at our choices. So choice A is no change. And the option that is currently in the paragraph is, "It was far too beautiful and was unlike other Renaissance depictions of David." That may be true, but that's not really a good reason not to lift the statue. It was far too beautiful, and B, "Depicted a favorite biblical story of the citizens of Florence." That doesn't really have much bearing on lifting the statue. I'm gonna leave it for now. C, "Would later to symbolize Florence's defense of its civil liberties." Again, that doesn't really have any bearing on why you wouldn't want to lift a big marble statue. So I don't feel confident about B or C. And let's look at D. The statute was far too beautiful, and D, "At more than eight tons, far too heavy to be placed high above its viewers." I think this is our answer because first of all, this is a pretty evident, direct reason not to lift a giant statue. It weighs eight tons. And it also matches some of the structure. It was far too beautiful and far too heavy. And that repeated structure signals to me rather elegantly that these two reasons go together. So you'll see what I did here. Rather than go through the choices one by one, I went to the passage first. I read the paragraph. I tried to pull out that main idea. And then I found the first piece of support, it's too beautiful. And then I looked for a piece of support that would match. It's too beautiful to keep far away, and it's too heavy to lift safely anyhow. Let's review some strategies for strong support questions. When you encounter a strong support question, first, answer the question that's actually being asked. Every choice is grammatically correct, so don't fall for a choice that sounds good, but doesn't actually answer the question. Then restate the claim. Always start off by restating in your own words the point that the answer was going to support. And finally match ideas. Get rid of choices that don't match the ideas that they're meant to support. Good luck out there. You've got this.