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Strategy 5: What is rhetoric?

Strategy 5: What is rhetoric?

One definition of the word rhetoric is “the study of writing or speaking.” Rhetoric questions on the Reading Test assess how well you understand the choices that authors make as they structure and develop their texts to convey meaning.

A note on the images in this article: all Reading Test items will be associated with a passage, but the passages are not included here. Each question pictured is just one example of how items in that category can look.

Some sub-topics within rhetoric:
Analyzing word choice.
Questions will ask you to determine how specific words or phrases or the use of patterns of words and phrases creates meaning and tone in the passage.

Analyzing text structure.
Questions focus on the overall structure of a text and on analysis of the relationship between a particular part of the text (e.g., a sentence) and the whole text.

Analyzing point of view.
Questions will ask you to determine the point of view or perspective from which a passage is told, or identify the influence this point of view or perspective has on content and style.

Analyzing purpose.
Questions will ask you to determine the main purpose of a text (typically, one or more paragraphs).

Analyzing arguments.
Questions will ask you to analyze arguments for their content and structure.

You will not need to know these types of questions by name for the test, but this list gives you an idea of some of the question types you will encounter.

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