kitchen table math, the sequel: C's SAT writing section minority rule

Sunday, May 29, 2011

C's SAT writing section minority rule

A couple of weeks ago, C. told me that on the Identifying Sentence Errors portion of SAT writing, sentences pertaining to minorities are error free. The correct choice is always E.

Darned if I haven't seen the same thing ever since he pointed it out.

Then today C. missed an answer because the sentence was about minorities and had an error.

"I used my rule," he said, "and it was wrong."

Starting this week, I am going to re-direct his attention to dangling participles, subject-verb agreement, pronoun antecedent agreement, tense consistency, parallelism, and idiomatic usage, among other things.

If that's possible.


debbie stier said...

I'm working on dangling modifiers this week too. I don't want to make ONE modifier error on next SAT.

PWN the SAT said...

Once you spend some time with them, Dangling Modifiers will just about jump off the page for you. It will become as though you couldn't miss one if you tried.

That's a double win, because not only do you answer those questions correctly every time, but you end up having to spend very little time on them. :)

debbie stier said...

wow. Ok. Here I go...

Catherine Johnson said...

I love dangling modifiers. I actually have a small collection of them.

The thing about dangling modifiers is that the SAT uses zillions of them in the incorrect choices. Yesterday we did one question where 4 of the 5 choices were dangling modifiers. To get the right answer, all you had to do was recognize the dangling modifiers in the incorrect choices.

Catherine Johnson said...

Having just showed C. the post, I hear him in the kitchen telling Ed about his minority rule.

Now I hear Ed asking him if the minority rule applies to SAT sentences about Asians.

PWN the SAT said...

So much of SAT prep is pattern recognition, which we're hard-wired to do, but there is always the danger of incorrectly seeing a pattern where there's really just noise in a small sample. This is where a lot of rumors (like (C) being the most common choice) come from, I think.

It's difficult to snap ourselves out of believing in a pattern once we believe in it, but it's important in this case that C does so. "Minority" questions enjoy no special status on the SAT. :)