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

What does this question look like?

These questions will ask a student to correctly combine, order, or transition between sentences.


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How often does this question appear?

There are approximately 8–10 Passage Structure Questions (20% of the section).

How does this compare to the current SAT?

The redesigned SAT will place more emphasis on passage organization than does the current SAT. Whereas the current SAT dedicates no more than 12% of its Writing Section to rhetoric and even fewer questions to passage structure, the redesigned SAT Writing Section will include several structure questions per passage. These questions will also be more context-based, so students must read the passages thoroughly in order to answer the questions correctly.

What does this mean for students?

Read, read, and read some more! By reading more academic journals and publications, you’ll come to understand how effective passages are composed. While you’re reading, pay attention to how authors introduce topics, sequence ideas, and transition between sentences and paragraphs. If you can put yourself in an author’s shoes, you’ll be more likely to make strong structural choices on test day.

Also, studying the most common transitions the SAT writers use and learning concrete clues to watch out for when ordering sentences and paragraphs will be key for your test prep.

Will this question be on the PSAT?

Yes. Every PSAT will include a Writing section. Passage Structure Questions will make up approximately 15% of this section.

Given that there are fewer Passage Structure questions on the PSAT, a student’s PSAT performance may not be a perfect indicator of his Passage Structure preparedness. Consider taking a practice SAT from a company that offers detailed score reports before sitting for an official exam.