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SAT Language: Historical and Scientific Writing Passages

3 min readโ€ขaugust 24, 2021

jessicakqiu

Jessica Q


SATย ๐ŸŽ“

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Hello ๐Ÿ‘‹ Welcome to this introduction of the historical and scientific passages on the SATยฎ Language section ๐Ÿค“ย 
Just a recap: the SAT Language section includes 44 questions (divided over 4 passages) that youโ€™ll answer in 35 minutes โฐ
Weโ€™re going to discuss some of the types of passages youโ€™ll see in this SAT section and look ๐Ÿ‘€ at some practice questions. Handy test tips are spread throughout! Ready to get started? Buckle up ๐Ÿš˜ and letโ€™s jump in!

Historical Passages

Letโ€™s start off with history/social studies passages. According to the College Boardยฎ, these passages discuss โ€œpolitical developments [and] global ๐ŸŒŽ events.โ€ These passages are short articles that cover fascinating issues like the history of Greek yogurt and the applications of philosophy. Letโ€™s discuss techniques for answering the questions on these passages.

๐Ÿ’ก TEST TIP 1: Take Your Time!

We all know how annoying silly mistakes can be. Avoid this by taking your time โฑ when reading the question and the underlined portion of the article! Be sure to understand precisely what the question is asking you ๐Ÿค”

Practice Question 1

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Images from College Board

This question asks for the most logical phrase that would introduce the rest of the sentence in this question. Take a look at the information before the sentence; it talks about settlers needing food while traveling on rail lines. The sentence weโ€™re analyzing talks about the solution to the problem: Fred Harvey opens his restaurant. So whatโ€™s an accurate transition? It would be C: to take advantage of the fact that there isnโ€™t good food for travelers, Harvey opens his own restaurant.

๐Ÿ’ก TEST TIP 2: Use Process of Elimination!

Itโ€™s much easier to answer a question when there are fewer answer choices to pick from ๐Ÿค  Your test booklet is yours to mark up; cross out โŒ answers that you know are wrong!

Scientific Passages

Okay, letโ€™s tackle scientific passages ๐Ÿงช next! Much like the historical passages, these will also be short articles. However, they will cover topics such as the benefits of exposure to natural light and chemicals that scientists use to preserve the freshness of apples ๐ŸŽ
Donโ€™t worry about unfamiliar terms or numbers ๐Ÿ“ˆ that may appear in the article. Colleges Board doesnโ€™t expect you to know or define them. Instead, they are simply testing your ability to analyze and apply the information you read ๐Ÿ“– Letโ€™s take a look at a practice question.

๐Ÿ’ก TEST TIP 3: Skip Questions and Come Back!

Likely, you wonโ€™t know the answer to every single question, and thatโ€™s okay! However, donโ€™t ๐Ÿ™…โ€โ™€๏ธ waste your time that you could be using to answer questions you DO know. Skip questions that you donโ€™t know and come back to them. If you really donโ€™t know, make an educated guess and move on ๐Ÿšถโ€โ™€๏ธ

Practice Question 2

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Images from College Board

This practice question tests your ability to read a graph/chart. These questions should be quite easy to understand, but read carefully! Itโ€™s also extremely easy to make silly mistakes.
We see 3 categories: dollars ๐Ÿ’ฐ raised, average dollars ๐Ÿ’ต pledged, and the success rate of the project. The highest project of each category is at the top of each graph. Letโ€™s take a look at A; according to the graph, the project category with the lowest amount of money raised was dance, with around $3-5 million. The most successfully funded project was also dance, with around 76%. This fits the answer choice, so the answer is A!

๐Ÿ’ก TEST TIP 4: Practice, Practice, Practice!

The SAT Language section is one of the easier sections to drastically improve your score, but only with lots of practice! Take the practice tests in your prep book ๐Ÿ“–ย  or use PDFs of free practice tests ๐Ÿ“‘ on the College Board website.

Closing

Congratulations! Give yourself a pat on the backโ€”youโ€™ve made it to the end of this article ๐Ÿ™Œ Hopefully, youโ€™ve gained a better sense of the layout and questions of the historical and scientific passages that youโ€™ll see on the SAT Language section. Keep the test tips in mind ๐Ÿง  and make sure you practice! Good luck on your SAT study journey!
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