Question Explanations For
PRACTICE TEST 1 (Writing and Language Test)
The Correct Answer is (B) — Commas are used to join together two clauses, before and after descriptive phrases in a sentence, and between three or more items in a list. The phrase here does not require a comma, so (B) is the correct answer.
The Correct Answer is (C) — The phrase “the rest of the snow and ice from dozens of earlier storms and flurries” is meant to modify “snowpack” and so should be set off by a pair of commas, as shown in answer choice (C).
The Correct Answer is (C) — “Give” here is referring to “the snow” and should agree with it. Since the verb should be singular and in the present tense, “gives” in choice (C) is the correct answer.
The Correct Answer is (C) — This question asks you to pick the verb that can describe the destruction of “the early evening stillness.” Stillness cannot be dismantled, impaired, or toppled, but can be shattered, so answer choice (C) is correct.
The Correct Answer is (B) — Look for the answer that conveys all the relevant information in the most economical way, without veering off topic. Answer choice (B) still conveys the main idea of the first sentence of the paragraph, by stating that large chunks of snow break into smaller and smaller pieces, while removing the irrelevant comparison to chunks of rocks. Answer (C) takes away the main point of the first sentence by removing the mention of the snow breaking into smaller pieces, while (D) is wordy and unwieldy, and does nothing to improve the focus.
The Correct Answer is (B) — This question requires you to pick a phrase that will make the comparison in the sentence be of two like things, so pick the choice that best parallels the possibility “that a slab avalanche will tear down buildings and trees.” Answers (A), (C), and (D) compare a possibility with an avalanche, an avalanche’s strength, and an avalanche’s behavior respectively, and so are not parallel, while only (B) completes the comparison accurately with another possibility.
The Correct Answer is (B) — Sentence 1 discusses the effects of slough avalanches, a concept introduced in sentence 2 (hint: you can guess that sentence 2 is the introduction of the term “slough avalanche” because it contains an explanatory note on the pronunciation of “slough”). Sentence 3 moves on to discuss slab avalanches, so the best location for sentence 1 is between sentences 2 and 3, described in answer choice (B).
The Correct Answer is (C) — Answer choice (C) correctly includes all relevant information in the phrase in the most economical way possible, while (A) adds an unnecessary word (“starts approaching” vs. simply “approaches”) and (D) cuts out information about what the avalanche is approaching. (B) is grammatically incorrect and awkward.
The Correct Answer is (D) — Only answer choice (D) retains consistency of tense throughout the sentence by using present tense for the verbs “wane” and “form,” and thus agreeing in tense with "start" earlier in the sentence.
The Correct Answer is (A) — Answer choice (A) conveys the information given without any grammatical errors or redundancies, and thus is the correct answer. All other answer choices add unnecessary words or elements, including “the place” (B), “and stays” (C), and “in a deposition zone” (D).
The Correct Answer is (B) — The sentences in the final paragraph describe the quiet aftermath immediately following an avalanche. They do not discuss long-term effects of avalanches, so (A) can be eliminated, nor do they discuss avalanche causes, eliminating (C). Answer (D) is off-topic, while answer (B) correctly offers a transition to the first sentence that frames the rest of the paragraph.
The Correct Answer is (B) — The original phrase, “traveled east by journeying eastward,” is redundant and awkward, but answer choice (B) effectively conveys this information in the most concise way by eliminating the unnecessary traveled/journeying and east/eastward repetition in the other choices.
The Correct Answer is (A) — The two sentences contrast the small number of Lapita people with their large and enduring legacy, so choose an answer choice with a transition word that reflects this. Though answers (A) and (D) both use “but” to link the sentences, (D) includes an unnecessary “then.” (A) uses the proper punctuation and grammar to correctly complete the sentence.
The Correct Answer is (C) — The phrase “not overcrowded or lacking in resources” must correctly modify the noun that follows. Since it does not modify “historians,” answers (A), (B), and (D) are incorrect, while answer choice (C) correctly pairs the phrase with the Lapita people.
The Correct Answer is (C) — Here, only answer choices (C) and (D) correctly address plants. To choose between them, recall the language of the prompt: you need to pick a sentence that will "provide supporting evidence for the claim that the Lapita brought plants with them to new islands." Since the previous sentence in the passage already stated that the Lapita "brought seedling plants on boats to develop their agriculture on new islands," the correct answer will support this claim—that is, it will add new information that backs up the statement. We can eliminate (D) because it doesn't provide any new supporting evidence; instead, it essentially restates the idea that the Lapita brought plants with them. (C) is correct; by mentioning plants that aren't capable of spreading to other islands on their own, it offers new supporting evidence for the claim.
The Correct Answer is (C) — The paragraph discusses aspects of the Lapita’s pottery, including some of its unique and impressive attributes. (A) and (D) thus miss the main point of the paragraph, while (B) is too narrow. Answer (C) correctly frames the more specific, supporting information that follows.
The Correct Answer is (B) — The underlined word here modifies “clay pots,” and so should be in the possessive form, as shown in answer choice (B).
The Correct Answer is (C) — Since “they” is ambiguous in this sentence, choose the answer that correctly identifies what “they” refers to, which is the “birds” of answer (C).
The Correct Answer is (C) — This question requires you to pick the proper idiom of “attests,” which is answer choice (C), “attests to.” You can refer to the New SAT Guide for a list of common idioms that you can memorize.
The Correct Answer is (A) — This question requires you to pick the most concise version of this sentence consistent with the tone of the passage, as seen in answer choice (A). Answer (B) adds an unnecessary “so much” while (C) and (D) are inconsistent with the style of the rest of the passage.
The Correct Answer is (C) — To correctly punctuate the plural possessive of “Lapita,” consider that elsewhere in the passage, “the Lapita” is used to refer to the Lapita people in the plural. Thus, all that is needed is an apostrophe and “s” at the end of this word, as shown in answer choice (C).
The Correct Answer is (A) — This question requires you to choose an appropriate transition between the sentence describing the Lapita ancestors’ expansion in the region and the arrival of the Europeans at a later date. Since the previous sentence provides background information (the spread of the Lapita ancestors) that explains why Europeans found every habitable island inhabited, answers (B) and (C) imply an unexpected reversal not found in the text. Answer (D) does not properly maintain the order of the events described, while (A) effectively accomplishes this transition.
The Correct Answer is (A) — Pick the phrase that most economically conveys the information present, here answer choice (A). Answer (B) adds an unnecessary “that particular” while (C) adds “who were writing.” Answer (D) takes too much information away, removing the reference to women.
The Correct Answer is (D) — The question requires you to choose the word that most accurately describes the acclaimed British female novelists that came before George Eliot, the meaning captured by "predecessors" in answer choice (D).
The Correct Answer is (B) — The topic sentence of the paragraph lays out the paragraph’s focus, which is to describe how Middlemarch was considered a modern epic. Sentence 2 should be deleted, as it describes unnecessary information about Inferno. It is mentioned in the passage only as an example of an epic; thus, information about its sequels is irrelevant.
The Correct Answer is (B) — To properly punctuate this list of adjectives, include commas in between each word, and an “and” before the final word in the list, as seen in answer choice (B). Note that the Oxford comma (the final comma before “and” in a list) is used in PSAT passages.
The Correct Answer is (D) — The correct pronunciation for the end of this declarative sentence is answer choice (D), a period. Note that an exclamation mark, or ellipses, would be inconsistent with the tone of the passage and out of place at the end of this sentence. The following sentence is not related enough to require the use of a semicolon.
The Correct Answer is (C) — Pick the answer choice that makes the verb “create” parallel to the other verbs in this sentence, “set out” and “embark.” Since these are in the present tense, (C) is the correct answer. (D) is incorrect because adding “are not” is redundant.
The Correct Answer is (C) — Answer choice (C) correctly splits the sentence into two independent clauses, currently connected by a comma and contraction. Answers (A) and (D) incorrectly split the sentence and leave one dependent clause on its own, while (B) breaks up the ideas in each clause in a nonsensical way.
The Correct Answer is (A) — Consider the relationship between the dependent clause at the start of this sentence and the independent clause that follows. They feature a contrast: despite difficulties evidenced in Middlemarch, Eliot made herself into something exceptional. Thus, pick a linking word that demonstrates this contrast, eliminating (C) and (D). Answer choice (A) works in context, while (B) muddles the sentence and does not as effectively signal the first clause as dependent on the second.
The Correct Answer is (A) — Since all answer choices are grammatically correct, pick the choice most consistent with the tone of the passage and that is appropriate in context. Answer (B) does not fit with the language used in the rest of the passage, while (C) is not strong enough and (D) does not make sense in the context of the passage.
The Correct Answer is (B) — Both “quieter” and “more domestic” modify “kind,” and since their order is reversible, they require a comma in between them (as do most lists of adjectives before nouns).
The Correct Answer is (C) — The focus of this paragraph is on George Eliot’s accomplishments, so check to see if the phrase adds to this focus. Because it does not, you can immediately knock out (A) and (B). Information about the Industrial Revolution does not occur anywhere else in the paragraph, nor does this phrase add any value to the final statement about Eliot’s work, so answer (C) is correct.
The Correct Answer is (C) — Choose the answer choice that will make “solving technical problems” parallel with the other items in the list. Both “critical thinking” and “practical science” follow the forms adjective-noun, so look for the answer option that correctly matches this. Answer (C) fits, and makes sense in context.
The Correct Answer is (D) — Since the sentence begins with “if you,” the latter part must follow this form and use the second person, making (D) the correct answer choice.
The Correct Answer is (C) — Pick the answer choice that most concisely conveys the relevant information in this phrase. Answer (B) is too vague, while (A) and (D) are overly wordy, making (C) the correct choice.
The Correct Answer is (D) — Sentence 7 starts with “This is because,” so you can infer that it should follow the sentence that it is explaining. Since it describes why a group environment is essential for complex projects, you can see that it belongs after sentence 5, which first brings up the practice of mechanical engineers working in teams.
The Correct Answer is (C) — The first part of the sentence reveals that the next phrase should be what the author is comparing to “the work of some other professions.” This comparison should be parallel, making the best choice answer (C).
The Correct Answer is (A) — The rest of the sentence following the underlined word provides clues as to the word’s meaning: the mechanical engineers’ work involves “hands-on experimentation and fabrication.” This most closely aligns with answer choice (A), tangible.
The Correct Answer is (B) — The tense of this sentence should match the rest of the paragraph, and thus be in present tense, eliminating (C). It should also agree in number with the noun that it goes with, “the projects that mechanical engineers work on,” which is plural. Thus, the correct answer choice is (B), “vary.”
The Correct Answer is (C) — Once you read the rest of the paragraph, you can see that the underlined sentence is irrelevant to the main focus on mechanical engineers’ projects and potential fields of employment. Thus, the sentence should be deleted for the reason cited in answer choice (C).
The Correct Answer is (C) — If you test each answer choice against the graph, you will see that only (C) makes sense in context. Answer (D) is not relevant to the graph and can be eliminated. Answers (A) and (B) can also be eliminated, as while 19% of graduates enter manufacturing, that is not “most” graduates or “the majority.” Rather, the graph shows that of the employment sectors listed, manufacturing draws the most students, hence being the field that graduates enter “most often” as described in (C).
The Correct Answer is (D) — Since this paragraph talks about the desirability of the field of mechanical engineering for students, (D) is the most relevant answer choice. (B) is contrary to the tone of the paragraph, while (A) and (C) are off-topic.
The Correct Answer is (C) — The word at the end of the sentence refers to the “new technological devices” that the engineers’ “ingenuity and skill goes into creating.” Since this is plural, answer choice (C) is correct.