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Suniti's Advice Corner

Tip: Avoid this common SAT/ACT English Writing Section Mistake

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Fri, Feb 23, 2018

Underlining text in passages is important…


One of the tips you will always see when it comes to passage-based sections is to underline important parts of the passage as you read. This is true for all passages, regardless of section. By underlining as you read, you are able to better absorb the information in these lengthy, not-so-easy-to-read passages. Underlining also helps you prioritize important parts of the passage to reference once you start answering the questions.

BUT: Should you underline text in the SAT/ACT English Writing Sections?

The SAT Writing and ACT English sections are passage-based, and usually include questions that reference specific underlined portions of the given passage. While it is helpful to somehow annotate the text as you read for comprehension, you should avoid underlining at all costs.

Here are 2 reasons why you shouldn’t underline anything in the English Writing Sections:

  1. Many students mix up what was underlined by them vs. the test itself. This can lead to making silly mistakes once they start answering questions. You always want to be 100% clear on what the question wants you to reference/answer.
  2. You will waste time trying to identify which areas you marked as important.

Although you shouldn’t underline, annotating the text as you read is a very important strategy. So, use non-traditional forms of annotation, such as squiggly lines, arrows, circled text, asterisks. Basically, use ways to draw attention to the important parts without using straight underlines.

x.pngDon't Do This Y-1.pngDo This Instead!
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This quick and easy fix will surely prevent you from wasting too much time or worse, making silly mistakes on the SAT/ACT English Writing sections.

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Suniti is the creator of TestRocker, an online learning platform that helps you unlock your dream PSAT, SAT and ACT scores. TestRocker is based on Suniti’s highly successful and proven method of teaching thousands of students how to maximize their PSAT, SAT and ACT scores for over a decade.

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