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PSAT Writing and Language - An Overview of the PSAT Writing and Language Section

The PSAT Writing section consists of a total of 44 multiple-choice questions to be answered in 35 minutes. The Writing section asks you to read passages, find mistakes and/or weaknesses, and fix them. Below you can find more detailed information about the specific skills these questions test.

Type of Question Skills/Content Tested
Command of Evidence Asked to improve the way passages develop information and ideas. For example, choose an answer that sharpens an argument's claim or adds relevant supporting details.
Words in Context Make a passage more concise or precise, improve syntax, style or tone by choosing the best words to use in a sentence or paragraph.
Specific Subject Area Analysis Read passages about topics in history, social studies, and science. Then, make editorial decisions on how to improve them.
Expression of Ideas Assess a passage's organization and impact by choosing which words or structural changes improve how the paragraph makes it's point.
Standard English Conventions Tested on the building blocks of writing: sentence structure, usage, and punctuation. Topics include verb tense, parallel construction, subject-verb agreement, and comma use.

To access sample Writing questions, visit the College Board website.


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