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Irvine SAT Tutoring: Writing and Language Questions

Solving the Hardest OFFICIAL SAT Writing and Language Questions (Practice Test 1)

All SAT practice questions are not created equal.  Not only do they vary vastly in difficulty from question to question (as you may already know), but they also differ in quality from test maker to test maker.  In other words, different practice tests from different companies may vary wildly in how effective they actually are in preparing you for the SAT.

From years of SAT tutoring and teaching experience, I’ve found that the majority of third-party test preparation cannot be trusted to give consistently high-quality questions and tests (book your private Irvine tutor today).  Questions can be too easy, too hard, on material that is not covered on the SAT, have answer choices that SAT writers would not choose, or simply have wrong or ambiguous answers.  This can be daunting when trying to decide which practice tests or books to buy, but luckily there is a simple solution: use the official practice tests.

College Board (the group that makes and administers the SAT) hosts their own, free practice tests for you to utilize.  These should be your primary source of practice since these are tests and questions made by the same people who make the real tests.  You will not have to worry about consistency or quality.

However, there can still be a problem with taking practice tests if you are a student who has already taken tests and is now looking to maximize their score.  As we mentioned before, all SAT questions vary in difficulty.  If you are taking practice tests and find that you are spending hours doing mostly questions that are too easy or simple for you, then there may be a better way to spend your time.

This brings us to this series.  Here, I will be cherry-picking only the most difficult questions from the official SAT practice tests to show and solve.  These questions have been chosen based on my experience using these tests with many students and observing which questions were the most difficult or most likely to be answered incorrectly.  They will be compiled here on posts to this blog so that you can choose to do some of only the hardest and official SAT practice questions to help prepare you for getting a top score on the actual SAT without wasting a lot of time-solving easier problems.

First, we will be looking at the most challenging questions in the writing and language section from the first SAT practice test.  For simplicity, I’ve neglected questions that would require you to read entire passages.  Instead, we are left with the most difficult questions that are largely based on grammar.  Note that for the writing section, question difficulty varies randomly rather than having more straightforward questions in the beginning and harder at the end.  Here they are:


These six questions are some of the hardest questions on the writing and language section of the first official SAT practice test.  Give these questions a try before checking on the key listed below, and stay tuned for more of the hardest official SAT questions, including the math sections coming soon.

~Key:   2:         B

7:         B

8:         C

16:       C

19:       D

26:       A

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Michael C. is currently a private math, science, and standardized test tutor with TutorNerds in Irvine and Anaheim.

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