This week we are taking a look at Argument Questions on the Redesigned SAT Writing Section.

What does this question look like?

These questions will ask a student to determine the purpose of a sentence or paragraph within the context of the passage. Most Argument Questions test this skill-set by asking students if a sentence should be kept or deleted and why.


Screenshot (8)

How often does this question appear?

There are approximately 3–5 Argument Questions (9% of the section).

How does this compare to the current SAT?

The current SAT tests argumentation once or twice and only within the context of a very short passage. In contrast, the redesigned SAT tests argumentation several times throughout four long passages.

What does this mean for students?

Students who wish to do well on Argument Questions should become familiar with the anatomy of various passages. Practice identifying main ideas, supporting details, transitions, and conclusions. Then, use your knowledge of the passage to determine if a proposed revision supports or detracts from the author’s central argument. If this sounds like a tall order, do not despair. Argument Questions are one of the easiest question types to answer once you learn the correct strategies. Consider working with a tutor who can introduce you to the various types of Argument Questions you’ll see on test day and show you how to approach them. These questions are a bit different from what most of us see in school. However, once you master them, you’ll find them quite manageable.

Will this question be on the PSAT?

Yes. Every PSAT will include a Writing section. At this time, the PSAT Writing section places greater emphasis on argumentation than does the redesigned SAT. Argument Questions will make up approximately 13% of this section.