Top 30 Examples To Use As Sat Essay Evidence Pdf

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Test-Guide.com's sample SAT questions are an excellent way to study for your upcoming SAT exams.  Our sample tests require no registration (or payment!).  Our questions are categorized based on the SAT test outline and are immediately scored at the end of the quiz.  Once you are finished with the quiz, you will be presented with a score report which includes a complete rationale (explanation) for every question you got wrong.  We will be adding more sample test questions in the near future, so please come back often.  If you like these SAT practice questions, please make sure to like us on facebook!

Taking sample questions is a great way to prepare for your SAT exam. There are many benefits of using practice exams, including: 

  • Helping with your timing - The SAT exam is a timed test.  Keeping a steady pace is critical to achieving a high score.  You can improve your decision making and your time by taking the practice exams in a timed format.  
  • Test format familiarity - All standardized tests, including the SAT, have their own unique way of presenting questions and answer choices.  You will gain more familiarity and comfort with the SAT question style as you take more practice quizzes.  On the real exam day, there will be no surprises! 
  • Study time focus - When you take many practice exams, you will get a sense of your test strengths and weaknesses.  Many students mistakenly spend time practicing on areas that they are already strong on, and ignoring their weaker areas. 
  • Improving your problem solving abilities - Tests like the SAT measure your ability to solve problems, not just memorize information.  It is critical to have strong problem solving abilities to do well on the SAT, especially the math areas.  The answer explanations (rationales) provided in our score reports can help you understand how to solve problems that you may be struggling with.

The New SAT Overview/Outline

The SAT test was redesigned in 2016. The stated purpose of the changes was to have the test better predict success in college and beyond. The new SAT has four components and an optional essay. The table below summarizes the sections.

Section Time Limit# of Questions
Reading6552
Writing and Language Test3544
Math Test (NO calculator)2520
Math Test (Calculator)5538
Essay (optional)501 essay
Totals180
(230 with essay)
154 + essay

SAT Reading

The SAT Reading component consists of 52 multiple choice questions based on reading passages. You are given 65 minutes to complete the section. The passages are presented either individually or paired with another passage. Some of the passages may contain tables, graphs, or charts - but require no math or topic-specific knowledge.

The passages will always include:

  • One passage from classic or contemporary literature (from the US or worldwide)
  • One passage about a social science topic (e.g., sociology, psychology, or economics)
  • One passage (or a pair of passages) from (or inspired by) a U.S. founding document (e.g., the U.S. Constitution or a speech by a President)
  • Two passages (or a passage and a passage pair) that are science focused, including Earth science, chemistry, physics, or biology.

The SAT Reading section attempts to measure the following:

  • Command of Evidence - find evidence that best supports an answer; determine how authors support their claims with evidence; identify relationships between informational graphics and reading passages.
  • Words in Context - determine how meaning, tone, and style are shaped by the author's word choice; identify the meaning of a word based on context clues in the passage.
  • Analysis in History/Social Studies and Science - examine hypotheses; interpret data; draw conclusions; consider implications.

SAT Writing and Language

The SAT Writing and Language component consists of 44 multiple choice questions. You are given 35 minutes to complete this section. This section presents reading passages that contain deliberate errors. You are asked to correct the errors by choosing the best possible replacement.

All the questions in this section will test your ability to improve a passage's writing style. This section still requires a firm grasp of grammar rules including punctuation and common English usage.

The SAT Writing and Language component assesses the following skills:

  • Standard English Conventions - you'll revise punctuation, words, clauses, and sentences. You'll be tested on: comma use, parallel construction, verb tense, and subject-verb agreement. 
  • Expression of Ideas - you'll be given questions about a passage's organization and impact. You'll be asked to select which words or structural changes will improve a passage.
  • Words in Context - you'll be asked to select the best word choice based on the context of the sentence. You are expected to choose words that will improve the tone, style or syntax of the selection.
  • Command of Evidence - you'll be given questions that require you to improve the way a reading passage develops ideas and information.
  • Analysis in History/Social Studies and in Science - you'll be given passages on history, social studies, and science. You are expected to select changes to the passages that improve them.

SAT Math

The SAT Math section is broken up into two sections.  The No Calculator section has 20 questions with a 25 minute time limit. The calculator permitted section has 38 questions with a 55 minute time limit.

There are two types of questions in the math section - traditional multiple choice and "grid in" questions which require you to determine the answer with selecting from choices.

The SAT Math section focuses on the following math topics:

  • Heart of Algebra - create, solve and interpret linear expressions in one or two variables; intepret variables and constants in linear functions within context; understand connections between graphical and algebraic representations.
  • Problem Solving and Data Analysis - solve single and mult-step problems involving: measurements, units, unit conversions, percentages, ratios, rates, proportional relationships, and scale drawings; evaluate graphs and scatterplots; compare and contrast linear and exponential growth; summarize categorical data, retrieve frequencies, and calculate conditional probability of two-way tables; utilize statistics to analyze shape, spread, and center.
  • Passport to Advanced Math - create and solve quadratic and exponential functions; create equivalent forms of algebraic expressions; add, subtract, and multiply polynomial expressions; understand relationship between zeros and factors of polynomials. 
  • Additional Topics in Math - volume formulas; Pythagorean theorem and trigonometric ratios; complex numbers; arc lengths and radian measures; congruence and similarity problems about lines, angles, and triangles; two variable equations about circles in the coordinate plane.

SAT Essay

The optional SAT essay component will require you to read a passage and write an essay that explains how the author develops a persuasive argument. You'll be expected to support your explanation with evidence from the passage. You are given 50 minutes to complete the essay.

Every SAT essay prompt is nearly identical to this example:

As you read the passage below, consider how [author] uses evidence, such as facts or examples, to support claims.

  • evidence, such as facts or examples, to support claims.
  • reasoning to develop ideas and to connect claims and evidence.
  • stylistic or persuasive elements, such as word choice or appeals to emotion, to add power to the ideas expressed.

Write an essay in which you explain how [author] builds an argument to persuade [his/her] audience that [author’s claim]. In your essay, analyze how [author] uses one or more of the features listed above (or features of your own choice) to strengthen the logic and persuasiveness of [his/her] argument. Be sure that your analysis focuses on the most relevant features of the passage. Your essay should not explain whether you agree with [author’s] claims, but rather explain how the author builds an argument to persuade [his/her] audience.

The SAT topic is different every time, but will always have the following attributes:

  • examine trends, debates, or ideas in political, cultural, or arts and sciences
  • argue a point
  • cover complex subjects
  • express subtle views
  • support claims using evidence and logical reasoning

The SAT Essay will measure your writing ability on the following three categories:

  • Reading - how well you comprehend the passage and effectively use textual evidence.
  • Analysis - how well you examine the author's reasoning, use of evidence, and persuasive techniques.
  • Writing - how well your essay is organized; appropriate use of grammar; effective use of style and tone.

The SAT Test is a standardized exam used in the admissions process by most colleges and universities in the U.S.  The SAT Test is similar in purpose to the ACT.  Both the SAT and ACT tests are only one factor that colleges use in their admissions processes, but it can be an important factor – so you should prepare and strive to do well on the test.

If you have another source of free SAT practice tests, please let us know and we can include it here.

The new SAT challenges students to understand the reasoning behind each answer they pick. Command of Evidence questions are a manifestation of this mission. In order to answer them, you have to carefully evaluate your thought process and the evidence presented by the author of the passage.

This article will focus on the evidence questions on the Reading section of the SAT; we have a separate article on Writing questions (coming soon). In this guide, I'll tell you exactly what these questions test, what kinds there are, and how you can learn to answer them correctly every time!  

 

What Are Command of Evidence Questions? 

These questions are a new feature of the SAT Reading and Writing sections in 2016. There are 18 Command of Evidence questions on each test that span the two sections, and you'll get a subscore out of 15 based on how many you answer correctly. Here's a raw to scaled score conversion chart provided by the College Board:

As you can see, Command of Evidence is one of seven subscores, which were created to give students a clearer picture of their academic strengths and weaknesses by delving deeper than the section scores or cross-test scores. You can read more about the scoring of the new SAT here. 

 

What Do Command of Evidence Questions Test?

This article will deal with Command of Evidence questions on the Reading section exclusively (see our Writing-focused coming soon). These questions will ask you to:

  • Identify the best textual evidence for your answer to the previous question.
  • Identify how authors use evidence to support their claims.
  • Examine how data supports claims made in the passage.

On questions where you have to find the best textual evidence for an answer, each choice is a different quote from the passage. These questions ask you to confront the reasoning behind your answers directly. They’re also unique because the answers to two sequential questions are tied to one another. Looking at the evidence choices can help you answer the first question correctly, or answering the first question correctly can lead you to the appropriate evidentiary quote. 

In questions that ask you to identify how the author supports his or her claims, you have to use a similar thought process, although these questions stand alone. Again, the answer choices are quotes from the passage, but this time you have to identify the quote that best supports an argument made by the author rather than an answer that you’ve given to another question. These types of evidence questions are rare, but they still come up once or twice on every test.  

Command of Evidence also encompasses some of the Reading section's new data interpretation questions. You’ll be asked which claim is best supported by the data presented in a graph or chart (or whether the data supports the authors claim at all).

Overall, these questions test your ability to think analytically about how certain conclusions are supported. They're a part of the SAT’s shift towards testing more practical skill sets. It’s important to learn how to think this way before you get to college and the professional world so that you can do effective research, make compelling arguments, and read with a discerning eye.I’ll provide examples of all three types of Command of Evidence questions in the next section so that you have a better idea of what to expect! 

 

On the new SAT, you must have an eagle eye for evidence!  Eat at least two small rodents before the test to keep your energy up.

 

Examples of Command of Evidence Questions

There are three types of these questions on SAT Reading. We'll go over what each one tests and walk through a sample question.

 

Question Type 1: Paired Find the Evidence

Here’s an example of the first type of Command of Evidence question. This question challenges you to find the best evidence for your answer to the previous question. 

I’ll give you the relevant paragraph from the passage first. For context, before this paragraph, the author describes the flaws in North American public transportation systems that have led people to choose cars instead:   

What’s interesting about these types of questions is that you CAN’T answer the find the evidence question until you figure out what the previous question is asking. Upon reading this paragraph, how would you describe its focus without looking at the answer choices? The main point of the paragraph is that public transportation can be just as convenient and comfortable as driving your own car, as evidenced by sophisticated public transportation systems around the world. 

Let's look at the answer choices:

Choices A and D have too narrow of a focus. They don’t describe the main point that the paragraph is trying to get across. Choice C is an irrelevant answer because the paragraph doesn’t specifically advocate changing American public transportation systems to match these models. Choice B appears to be the best answer for question 14. 

But we’re not done looking at question 14 yet! Question 15 asks us to reconsider why we chose B. Why did we decide that the main point of the paragraph was consistent with the statement “some public transportation systems are superior to travel by private automobile”? On the old SAT, you could just say “I dunno, that’s what I felt like the main point was. I don’t have to EXPLAIN myself to you,” but that’s not gonna fly this time. 

 

Oh, you don't want to find the evidence? Well I found the evidence of the little party you decided to throw last weekend, how do you like that Chad? 

 

Let’s look at question 15's answer choices:

Choices C and D reference lines that elaborate on the main point but do not directly establish it. Choice A is a bit trickier to rule out because the main point is related to the fact that public transportation doesn’t have to be inconvenient. However, there’s no concrete information that establishes the main point in that sentence. If you look at it in isolation, there’s no evidence for the main point of the paragraph. The most compelling evidence is the second sentence. It’s a clearly defined topic sentence that sets the stage for the rest of the paragraph. Again, choice B is the correct answer! 

 


Question Type 2: Find the Author’s Evidence

These evidence questions are not paired. Instead, they ask which piece of textual evidence most strongly supports a point made by the author. This one applies to another excerpt from the same passage we looked at for the last two questions:

Here we’re just looking for the line that most directly backs up a certain idea, in this case, the idea that use of electronic devices and use of public transportation are compatible. This is a question that is pretty simple to answer if you read carefully and aren’t rushing through the test. The only answer choice that references electronic devices in conjunction with public transportation is choice B, lines 63-67. All of the other choices are virtually irrelevant to the idea expressed in the question.

 

I love the magic rectangles. Share this blog post if you agree.

 

Question Type 3: Data-Driven Evidence

You’ll also be asked to explain what conclusions can be drawn based on evidence in chart or graph form. Here’s one of the charts that was included with the public transportation article we’ve been looking at and an accompanying data-driven evidence question:

This question is also pretty straightforward, but it has a little bit of a tricky twist to it. Choices B and C are clearly incorrect. There’s a much higher number of employed than unemployed people using public transportation, and people employed outside the home make up a much higher percentage of public transportation passengers than homemakers.

Choosing between A and D is the tricky part. Choice D turns out to be incorrect because of the words “less often.” There’s no way of knowing from the data how OFTEN these different types of people use public transportation; the data represents the numbers, not the frequency of use. Choice A is the correct answer because it’s the only one that’s verifiably accurate based on the chart. 10.7% of public transportation passengers are students, and only 6.7% are retirees!

 

Should we take the bus? Nah, let's drive there, but make sure you go painfully slow. I like having a long line of cars behind us because it makes me feel just like the president if the secret service hated him and actually wanted him dead.   

 

5 Tips for Answering SAT Reading Evidence Questions

Now that we’ve gone through the different types of Command of Evidence questions, I’ll provide a few tips for answering them in the most efficient and accurate way possible.

 

#1: Make Predictions  

For either Paired Find the Evidence or Author Evidence questions, try to make a prediction about the answer before you read all the quotes in the choices. It’s best to formulate an idea of what the answer should look like before confronting the choices. This makes it less likely that your thought process will be disrupted by the suggestions you’re given. 

For example, in the first sample question, you would think about which part of the paragraph led you to the conclusion that the main idea was “some public transportation systems are superior to travel by private automobile.” You might already be able to predict that the second sentence of the paragraph provides the most compelling evidence for this claim without seeing the answer choices.

 

#2: Mark the Passage

It can be hard to separate the quotes you’re considering as evidence from the rest of the passage, especially if they’re embedded in longer paragraphs. To make it easier on yourself, try underlining each of the potential pieces of evidence that you’re given in the answer choices. This will help you to adopt a more focused approach and see sharper connectionsbetween the evidence and your answer to the previous question (or the author’s point in the passage).

 

Sometimes making the right connections isn't so easy. For example, I don't think I've ever successfully put together anything involving these types of cords.

 

#3: Look for Synonyms

The most important thing with evidence questions is finding a direct link between the support and the claim. Look for answer choices that contain synonyms to terms or concepts mentioned in the question or in your answer to the previous question. Usually, this indicates a strong evidentiary connection. 

For example, in the second question we looked at, the “personal electronic devices” mentioned in the question are mirrored by the “iPads, MP3 players, Kindles, and smartphones” cited in choice B. This answer was the best evidence because it had the most direct connection to the conclusion laid out in the question.

 

#4: Read ALL the Answers

It takes a little more time, but you should always read every answer choice before making a final decision on these questions. You’re looking for the best evidence or the most accurate conclusion. Don't make the mistake of choosing an answer that’s not quite right because you were too quick to commit! Be methodical in your decisions so that you aren't taking any unnecessary risks. 

 

Don't get lazy!

 

#5: Digest the Data  

If you see that charts or graphs are included with a passage, take a minute to look at them and make sure you understand what they represent before you tackle the questions. Making quick judgments as you answer questions can sometimes lead to errors, especially if you’re not as comfortable with data interpretation. Get a solid idea of what each figure represents so that you feel more comfortable drawing conclusions later.  

 

Conclusion

Command of Evidence questions are new to the SAT this year. There are three different types of questions that fall into this category on the Reading section:
  • Paired Find the Evidence: Choose a quote from the passage that directly supports your answer to a previous question
  • Find the Author’s Evidence: Choose a quote from the passage that directly supports a conclusion drawn by the author
  • Data-Driven Evidence: Interpret evidence presented in the form of charts and graphs and draw appropriate conclusions
These questions ask you to analyze your thought process more explicitly to determine why you answered questions a certain way and why your conclusions (or the conclusions of the author) are valid. They force you to get into the nitty-gritty of reading comprehension. Some strategies I’d recommend for approaching these questions include:
  • Predicting the answer before reading the choices
  • Underlining evidence in the passage
  • Looking for synonyms between the claim and the potential pieces of supporting evidence
  • Reading all the answers before making a final decision
  • Understanding the figures before looking at data-driven questions

These questions are new, but they’re not necessarily more difficult than anything else you’ve seen on the SAT in the past. They dispel the dangerous illusion of subjectivity for SAT Reading questions by showing you that there is direct evidence for every answer. If you practice identifying direct evidence and avoid making assumptions, these questions may help you to become a better SAT test-taker overall!

 Get out there and use your newly-found powers to become a test-taking champion (trophy not included).

 

What's Next?

Advanced vocabulary knowledge used to be a pretty big part of the SAT Reading section, but things have changed in 2016. Read this article to find out how to study vocabulary for the new version of the test. 

Taking the SAT with the (now optional) essay? Get the low-down on how the prompts have changed and what you can do to earn a great score. 

The new SAT has a new scoring system, which means you should have a different target score. Learn more about how to adjust your goals based on the scoring parameters of the updated test. 

 

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