PSAT Improving paragraphs questions are one of the three types of questions you'll experience on the PSAT Writing test. Here are the details about this type of question:
PSAT Improving Paragraphs Basics
Each question will start with a paragraph you must read. For some of the questions, part of the paragraph (either a sentence or part of a sentence) will be underlined. You’ll have to decide if the underlined portion sounds fine the way it is, or if one of the answer choices below would make more sense. In other questions, you’ll be asked to strengthen the paragraph as a whole.
These questions will look a little like the passage-based reading sections on the Critical Reading portion of the PSAT because they are long paragraphs, but instead of measuring your reading skills, they predominantly test your ability to find clarity, cohesiveness, proper grammar, and mechanics in a longer passage.
Answer These Questions Last
Because these are longest out of the three types of questions on the Writing Skills section of the PSAT, these should be last ones you answer.
The Questions Get More Difficult As You Proceed.
As you answer them in order, which you will if you’re test-savvy, they will become increasingly more difficult. So it’s good to get your feet wet on the first ones, because you’ll have an easier time getting them right. (Getting things right = a higher score.)
PSAT Improving Paragraphs Example
Again, you'll be given a paragraph with an underlined portion, and two different types of questions. Answer the questions that ask you to improve individual sentences first, then move on to the questions that ask you to strengthen the passage as a whole – these are much harder.
(1) Until the discovery of the Rosetta stone, the hieroglyphic writing of the ancient Egyptians was indecipherable to scholars. (2) Egyptian hieroglyphic writing died out in the third century A.D. (3) The ancient Egyptian religion died out. (4) Priests were the ones who mostly used this type of writing. (5) For centuries afterward, no one knew how to read the many inscriptions on Egyptian temple walls. (6) Nevertheless, in 1799, the Rosetta Stone was found near the town of Rashid (called Rosetta by the English) in the Nile Delta in Egypt. (7) Here was the key to deciphering hieroglyphic writing.
Question: Which of the following is the best way to combine sentences 2, 3, and 4 (reproduced below) in order to convey clearly the relationship of the ideas?
Egyptian hieroglyphic writing died out in the third century A.D. The ancient Egyptian religion died out. Priests were the ones who mostly used this type of writing.
A. Egyptian hieroglyphic writing, used mainly by priests, died out in the third century A.D. along with the ancient Egyptian religion.
B. The ancient Egyptian religion died out in the third century A.D., as did Egyptian hieroglyphic writing, and it had been used mainly by priests.
C. Egyptian hieroglyphic writing and the ancient Egyptian religion died out in the third century A.D., being used primarily by the priests.
D. In the third century A.D., Egyptian hieroglyphic writing died out, but the ancient religion's priests were who used it most, and it ceased.
E. Dying out in the third century A.D. was Egyptian hieroglyphic writing, the same time as the ancient Egyptian religion and its priests, the primary users.
The correct choice is A.
Choice A most succinctly and clearly reworks those three sentences into one coherent sentence, while keeping the original meaning.