Attacking The Passage

Chris Lele
Lesson by Chris Lele
Magoosh Expert
Learn More About Magoosh SAT
In this lesson, we're gonna talk specifically about attacking the writing paragraph. So the strategy is read a paragraph at a time. Then return to the questions within that paragraph. For certain questions, the one that deals, the ones that deal with the transition between sentences, you'll have to re-read the sentence before and after the underlying part to kind of help yourself remember the context.

And that's okay, that's part of the strategy. So what we're gonna do is, I'm gonna have you read that paragraph right there. Okay, I assume you've paused the video. What should you have paid attention to when you've read? Well, sort of in the vein of active reading, what you want to do is you don't want to just piece words next to each other, but you kind of want to simplify and summarize as you read.

And so, I read that first sentence and I just think, okay people are staying in someone's house they've never even met before. And it says, over the last few years many are paying to do exactly that. First thing that should jump out is, that's an interesting transition. They even give me a transition word here. I don't know if it's correct, but what should that word be?

What's going on here? What are they setting up? And already you should say, oh, they're setting up a contrast. You may even already say, oh, I've got the answer to number one. Break the approach a little bit in some cases. And say, I know it's a contrast word.

So I'm going to look at question number one before even finishing the paragraph. But you won't always get transitions at the very first question. So you'd keep on reading. Many are paying to do exactly that. And the somebody of the first sentence is getting paid for lending out their home to perfect strangers, sometimes for an entire week.

So now we have a context. People are paying someone to stay at their place, and they stay there. Kind of weird, but that';s what the paragraph is about. So what we're also going to pay attention to is that there are certain transitions within the sentence such as here. And these of course relates to grammar rules not so much meaning rules.

So don't trip over these. Don't say, oh, that's weird. I better read that again. It's probably going to sound weird, because there is a grammatical error going on. Again, don't worry about re-reading any of these parts once you actually go to the question and see what they're asking for.

So, for question number one, we know that they're asking about this transition. We already set up the transition. There's a contrast going on here. Who would possibly drive 500 miles to stay in a stranger's home? But that's exactly what's happening. But, or however, something that shows that contrast.

Therefore means, something is a cause and effect. But one would not expect people actually start paying to do this. For instance, gives an example and additionally shows that there's no contrast, but you're expanding on something that's already been set. Okay, so we tried our little method with that first paragraph, and we still have a couple more questions to go.

Again, you'll need to go back, and you'll need to reread, don't just say their home. Well, their home sounds fine to me. Look at the sentence. And the somebody of the first sentence is getting paid for lending out. They're testing the pronoun somebody. Is it singular or is it plural?

Meaning is it their or should it be, his or her. Somebody, for your edification, is always singular. Therefore it should be his or her. So you can get rid of answer choice a. They are is well they're, b is they are. Lending out they are home, it doesn't make any sense.

His and her brings us back to plural. And again, somebody is singular. So you can see that a lot of these you just have to look at the actual sentence itself, apply some grammar rules, and you should get it right. As long as of course, you know those grammar rules. Speaking of which, let's look at some more complicated grammar rules.

Says the somebody lending out their home to perfect strangers, sometimes staying an entire week. What's wrong with that? Well, it's implying that the somebody's lending out their home to themselves and staying there. That doesn't make any sense.

So we wanna get rid of that. And it's the strangers who are gonna be there. So strangers that. Now this is really subtle, but people are always who. But that's kind of nitpicky, but notice, read it, though. Strangers that sometimes staying.

Ooh, that's off. Strangers, and they are sometimes staying an entire week. Who's the they? Well, you could say somebody singular, but it could be the strangers, which is plural. Probably is, but the SAT's gonna be more precise.

So they're gonna put a comma next to strangers, and they're gonna be more specific. Strangers, who are sometimes staying an entire week. Now, it's very clear and there's nothing funky going on with the saying. So there it is. That's how you would attack a typical paragraph.

And this is probably a typical paragraph as well. It's a little bit longer. But again, actively read it, pause the video, and then try to do number four. Okay, I see we've done that. So you read through the first part, summarize the hotels are getting expensive.

And now, there's these new websites that take out the uncertainty factor of this whole property lending, or staying in places you've, that are owned by people you've never met before. And then as we get to number four, it says, similarly, Airbnb has a rating system that works both ways. Well, Airbnb was already mentioned.

And they were the one who take the uncertainty factor out of the picture that means people have a better sense of what they're getting. And oh, I see, cuz Airbnb offers this rating system, so travelers can learn about the places they are staying and vice versa. So what's the connection between this sentence and sentence four? That's what you have to figure out on the new SAT writing.

The connection is that Airbnb is given as an example of what they're actually doing to take out the uncertainty factor. So for instance works perfectly. Again, they mention Airbnb, taking out the uncertainty factor. How did they do it? Well, let's give them an instance, and that's what b is.

Similarly, means that you're comparing Airbnb to someone else who did something similar. But again, this is the first instance of Airbnb again actually doing something which is taking the uncertainty factor out of the picture. There's no need for contrast and similarly and likewise are very similar words. So they're both wrong in this case.

Finally, number five. This is one if you are running out of time, you can just go, okay, I don't need to read all of this. I can see that numbers is the subject and therefore suggest is correct. Alone is not the subject. So don't think alone suggests.

It's the numbers that are doing the suggesting. And numbers are plural, therefore suggest is correct. Not suggests. And the answer, of course, would be a. So, that's kind of the way you work through it. Read it, notice the way you're dealing with the transitions where you really have to understand the sentences.

And then, you can read to the end but come back to the ones that are just purely grammar. Make sure you focus on what's going on in the sentence and you should get the correct answer.

Show Transcript

Next Lesson