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FAQ#13 About American SAT & ACT

What question types appear in the new Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section?

Q: What question types appear in the new Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section?

The revision in 2016 has led to a removal of traditional SAT sentence completion questions. The redesigned SAT no longer tests rote memorization of obscure vocabulary words; instead, the SAT tests “high utility” words that change in definition depending on the context in which they are used. This means that students will now be required to have a deeper understanding of more commonly used vocabulary words, and will also be required to read entire passages to discern the meanings of words.

Four types of questions will be featured on the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section: words in context, command of evidence, informational graphics, and text complexity.

Words in Context questions measure your understanding of how word choice influences meaning, shapes mood and tone, reflects point of view, or lends precision or interest. The Writing and Language portion measures students’ ability to apply knowledge of words, phrases, and language in general in the context of extended prose passages.

Command of Evidence questions test students’ ability to identify the portion of text that serves as the best evidence for the conclusions they reach. You both interpret text and support that interpretation by citing the most relevant textual support. The Writing and Language portion measures students’ capacity to revise a text to improve its development of information and ideas.

Informational Graphics questions ask students to interpret information conveyed in one or more graphics (tables, graphs, charts, etc.) and to integrate that information with information found in the text. The Reading test has two passages that include one or two graphics each. The Writing and Language portion has one or more passages that include one or more graphics, and asks students to consider information in graphics as they make decisions about how and whether to revise a passage.

Text Complexity questions include passages that span a specified range of text complexity levels from grades 9-10 to postsecondary entry. Students are asked to make and refine decisions about the placement of passages within complexity bands.

More generally, the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section will require students to answer questions based on their ability to read and refine the text as a whole.

The most important thing about the new Evidence Based Reading and Writing section is that students will need to read entire passages to answer the questions.

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