Improve Your SAT Writing Score: A Grammar Boot Camp (Week 1) | Megan McFarland | Skillshare

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Improve Your SAT Writing Score: A Grammar Boot Camp (Week 1)

teacher avatar Megan McFarland, Helping You Get into The Best College!

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
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Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

9 Lessons (34m)
    • 1. Welcome!

    • 2. How to Get Started: Structure of the SAT

    • 3. 5 Ways to INSTANTLY Improve Your Writing Score

    • 4. Modifiers, Change is a Good Thing

    • 5. Relatives, Can't Run From Family

    • 6. Sentence Fragments, Help I'm Not Complete!

    • 7. Parallelism, This is English Not Math

    • 8. Let's Practice! College Board Questions

    • 9. Next Steps!

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About This Class

Are you studying for the SAT? Not sure where to begin? Do you want to improve your score?

Then this class is for you! This course will help you boost your SAT score and get into the college you desire!

This 5 week course includes ALL of the grammar skills you need to ace the SAT Writing section. The first week will introduces you to different sentence structures including

  • Modifiers
  • Relative clauses
  • Parallelism
  • Sentence fragments

After introducing you to the grammar rules, you can practice your skills with previously released exam questions from the College Board!

This course is the best way to get started with the SAT or continue to practice if you've already taken the exam. Take a step to improving your score today!

Meet Your Teacher

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Megan McFarland

Helping You Get into The Best College!


Megan earned her master’s degree in education with an emphasis in math from UC Berkley’s Graduate School of Education. Prior to that, she earned her bachelor’s degree with special distinction in mathematics from UC Santa Barbara. Most recently, Megan has taught at college preparatory schools in Europe and Asia helping prepare students from diverse countries and cultures such as India, Qatar, Malaysia, Indonesia, United Arab Emirates, the UK and the USA apply and gain admission to the most distinguished universities including Harvard and UC Berkley. In her spare time, Megan enjoys learning foreign languages (Spanish, Mandarin, and a bit of Malay) and traveling the globe. Sign your child up of courses or one-on-one support with Megan and have them learn from a well-train... See full profile

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1. Welcome! : Welcome to Week one of your s a T writing course. This five week course will walk you through all of the grammar rules that you will need to know to do your best on the S a T writing section. Over the last two years, I've helped students apply to US universities and gain acceptance is into U. C L. A, UC Berkeley, Harvard, Yale and Princeton. I can't wait to start helping you out as well. Within the course, each video will walk you through one grammar concept. Following that, there will be several exercises for you to practice that concept. The exercises can be found in the notes section of skill share. If you click the pin below, it will open up the notes section, which will have all of the links to various exercises. Additionally, towards the end of each week, we will look at college board released exams. I will be asking to pause the video and try these problems yourself to get the most out of this course. Thank you for taking this course and congratulations. I'm taking the first step to improving your S a t score. I can't wait to see you succeed. What are you waiting for? Click the next video to get started today. Thank you. Goodbye. 2. How to Get Started: Structure of the SAT: welcome before we get started with our grammar rules. First, let's talk about the structure of the S A T exam. The S a T exam has five different sections. It has a reading writing to mass sections, and an essay portion in this course will be focused on the writing Multiple Choice section . This section consist of 44 questions. In 35 minutes, you will be asked to read four different passages and edit the grammar and writing content within them. This averages to about nine minutes per passage or 45 seconds per question. So it is rather fast. If this is your first time ever taking a look at the S A. T. I highly recommend printing out the writing section of college boards, released practice just one and completing it with the time. This will give you a great idea of what the section looks like and how it will fill to take within the given time. Within this court, you'll find a breakdown of that first practice test by topics so that you'll know what topics you did not do well on within that exam. It's okay to sit down and feel overwhelmed with the types of questions they're asking you. This test is challenging, but this course will help you break it down topic by topic so that you can get the right answer every single time. Thank you for watching this video. We will be talking about five quick tips you can start using today to boost your s a T score in our next video. Thank you. Goodbye. 3. 5 Ways to INSTANTLY Improve Your Writing Score: welcome. So you want to boost your s a T score? OK, here's five quick ways to boost your s a T writing score right away. If you start doing these things today, I guarantee you will improve your score. Number one don't read everything in the S a T writing section. Most of the time you can get by with just reading the sentence that has an underlying portion, especially when you're reading for grammar. This is what we'll be doing when we're looking at S 80 writing questions within this course , we don't mean to read the entire passage to correct a grammar question. However, there are questions that ask about relevance or transition words For these questions, you should make sure to read a few lines above in a few lines below the underlying portion . Most of the time, you can get by with Onley reading one sentence which will save you a ton of time on the S. A T writing section. The second way to improve your score today is to make sure that you were answering every single question. Do not leave anything, Blink the S A T no longer punishes you for wrong answers. So if you are running out of time, you should be bubbling in every single answer that is left. If you want to skip in question, make sure you still bubble in something so that you have any chance of getting some points for that question. Another way you can improve your s a T writing score is by making sure you're choosing the shortest answer. So if you are between two answer choices on the S a T writing section and one a shorter picked the shortest answer, the sht tends to consistently like less. Wordy response is any time you're stuck, picked the shortest one. Move on. I guarantee it will help your score. Another way you can improve your s a T writing score is to avoid the word being the S A T hates the word being most often there is a nicer way to say sentence than using the word being nine neighbors out of the time. If the word being is in answer choice, that answer choice is wrong. Get rid of it, move on to the next answer choice and our final way to improve your s a T writing score is to trim your sentences, and this is something we'll talk more about later. The easiest way to Trevor sentences is to cut out any non essential information. Any information that is not relevant to the question they're asking you. You can literally right on your test. Crossed it out. It'll make things much more simple for you. I hope you start putting these into practice. As soon as you're done watching this video in our next video, we will start looking at specific grammar rules to help you get started in approving your score even more. Thank you. And have a lovely day. Goodbye. 4. Modifiers, Change is a Good Thing: Hello. Welcome to First Lesson of the S A T writing course. I'm so excited for you to get started. Congratulations on taking the first step to improving your S a T score. You're well on your way today. We're gonna talk about clauses. Classes are different pieces of a longer sentence. A class can tell us additional information. It can tell us a timer place it might describe or define a word. They're just different parts of one longer sentence. So the specific type of clauses we're gonna look at today are modifiers the word modify well normally. And we use that to mean change. So these modifiers are changing or adding additional information to our sentences. So let's look at one example of this. After chasing the mouse in the kitchen, the tired cat drink some water. So in this sentence, our first part, the after chasing the cat in the kitchen, is called our modifier. It modifies or changes what we know about the tired cat. It gives us additional information as to what that cat is doing. Um, so our role for the S A. T is we must have the thing. We are changing the thing we're modifying or the subject of her sentence after that comma after our modifier, so you'll see what I mean. When we look at some examples, let's look at another sentence after chasing in the mass in the kitchen, milk spilled all over the floor. So this might sound correct, but with modifiers, as I just said, we have to have her subject the thing we're modifying right after that comma. So in this sentence, the word milk is what follows that comma. So this sentence actually makes it sound like milk was the thing chasing the mouse in the kitchen. This sentence doesn't make sense. Grammatically, we have to have the word cat after that comma or the tired cat. We have to have the subject of that sentence after that comment. So let's look at another example. After reigning for several days, the sky is finally clear. So the sky was what was raining, so this sentence would be correct, whereas the sentence after reigning for several days, I went for a bike raid. Well, I wasn't the one raining, so I should not be after that comma, the sky or the weather. Whatever was raining the clouds. Those should all be after that comma. So that that is the thing we're modifying. This is a commonly tested topic on the S A T, and our way of really just making sure we get these questions right every single time is to underline the subject that is after the comma and figure out. Is this the correct subject that I'm talking about with the verb in the modifier? So let's look at two or sentences jumping with joy. Susan's exam score was much higher than she expected. Jumping with joy, Susan shouted her s a T score to her mom. So we need to be asking yourself, What is the thing? Jumping with joy in the sentence? What is our subject? Susan is jumping with joy, not Susan's exam score. But Susan herself, so often times the S A T will do this where Susan is still that first word after the comma . But it's actually talking about Susan's exam score, not Susan herself. So we need to make sure Okay, if we're starting our sentence with a modifier which typically starts with an I n g verb jumping, running, um, swimming. Then we need to see What is the thing Jumping. Who is the person swimming and those things will help us get these questions right. Our number one rule here for the S a T is if we have a modifier. A sentence that starts with something doing anything, then our subject are now that is doing that thing needs to come after that comma within this lesson there to exercises to help me practice modifiers. These exercises air fairly similar to the S A T questions. At the end of the section, I will have a video going through as a T college board released questions that include questions on modifiers as we go through questions on all types of closets. So thank you for watching this video. You've taken the first step. You've, you know, knocked out the first video. Wait, go try the exercises and then move on to lesson to thank you by 5. Relatives, Can't Run From Family: Hello. Welcome to the second video in our s a T writing course. We're going to continue talking about closets today, which again to remind your just different pieces of longer sentences. And today we're talking about relative clauses, so not like your relatives, like your and your uncle. But relatives I actually do have a little bit to do with people. Um so our relatives or clauses that start with that Who which these types of clauses also give us additional information on what is going on in our sentence. So let's look at a few sentences. The house that is painted black is the biggest house on the block. So this sentence are relative. Is that part that is painted black Relatives become really important later when we're dealing with subject verb agreement and punctuation, because we need to be able to get rid of any non essential or not important information in this sentence that we just read. The house that is painted black is the biggest house on the block, using the sentence as an example. If we wanted to cut out any information that we don't actually need to understand the meaning of the sentence we can cut out that is painted black. And we had the sentence. The house is the biggest house on the block. I was gonna become crucial again when we're checking, if our verbs air correct. So that's why we're talking about relative clauses now, although for this lesson you will not have any exercises off this topic. I just want to give you a introduction to what this means. And then later, when we're talking about some other topics, I will refer back to this lesson. So let's look at some other sentences, though, that have relative clauses in them. So my aunt who hates peanuts really likes peanut butter cookies. So again, if I want to understand the overall meaning of this sentence, I can cut out who hates peanuts and just focus on. My aunt really likes peanut butter cookies. One more sentence. After running in the rain, the dog who's pause for covered in mud ran through the house. If I want to understand the full meaning of this sentence, I can get rid of the clauses that air non essential. So that would be our modifier, which is that first part again. After running in the rain Dunning that, um and I can also get rid of our relatives. Phrase who is paws were covered in mud. So I'm left with the sentence. The dog ran through the house. So when we're working with the S A. T, there are many times where we actually need to get rid of those modifiers in those relative phrases. Those will come up later in this course. But one other thing I want to point out here is when we're supposed to use that and when we're Swiss cheese, which so these words sometimes used interchangeably, but they actually have very specific purposes. So the word that, like in the first sentence we read the house that is painted black is the biggest house on the block versus the sentence. The house, which is painted black, is the biggest house on the book. What's the difference between these two sentences? Well, let's see, In the first sentence, the word that means were specifying it. Is this the only house that is painted black? So there can only be one the house that is painted black. So it's actually telling us which house we're talking about? Um, So that should specify that there is only one house that is black and it tells me which which house we're looking. Whereas the sentence, the house, which is painted black, is the biggest house on the block. This sentence is actually just saying the house is the biggest house on the block and it happens to be black. It is not the Onley house that is black. So it doesn't actually specify which house I'm talking about in this sentence, rather just giving an additional information that the house is painted black. So just to say that one more text, it's kind of confusing. So the the sentence with that tells me specifically what thing I'm talking about, the sentence with which, as an additional detail to my sentence, but doesn't tell me more specifically which house we're talking about. If we're trying to use that in which in a sentence we can think about, do I want to be more specific about what thing I'm talking about, or my just adding an additional detail if I want to specify which house I'm talking about or which dog or which room like the room that has the green couch? I'm saying that that is the only room with the green couch. Um versus the room, which has a green couch, is just saying, Well, that room happens to have a green couch. It's not making it more specific. So we need to think about Am I looking for an additional detail or in my specifying which thing I'm talking about to decide. So that's all we have on relative clauses for today. Again, we'll talk about this topic a little bit later, but it's a great introduction for now. Thank you for watching less and dio of your s a T writing course. I am excited for you to keep going. Thank you. Bye. 6. Sentence Fragments, Help I'm Not Complete!: Hello. Welcome to less than three. Today. We're gonna be talking about sentence fragments. Sentence fragments are incomplete sentences. They cannot stand on their own. When we talk about sentence fragments, it's important for us to differentiate between a independent in a dependent clubs. Uh, the word independent is exactly like it sounds independent. I can't stand on my own without my parents. Great. So an independent clause means it can stand independent of everything else in the sentence . It actually creates a full sentence by itself, whereas a dependent clause relying on the rest of a sentence for it to exist. It can't be a full sentence without the other half. A sentence is complete when we have a subject and a verb, so this can help us determine. And something is an independent or dependent clause. So a subject being something, um, some type of now a chair, a table. You, me, a teacher, any of that. Ah, place a house. Those would all be subjects are verb is what our subject is doing. Its running, raining, sleeping. Let's look at this sentence Fragment the black cat. So in the black cat, I have a subject. The cat but I don't have a verb, so this is not a complete sentence. If I have the black cat runs now, this would be a complete sentence. I didn't know that sounds a little weird because it's pretty short, but let's check it has a subject the cat and has a verb runs. So the black hat runs would be a complete sentence or an independent clause if it was part of a bigger sentence. Life a sentence When he hears the door slam, the black cat runs. Now we have the black hat. Runs would be are independent and when he hears would be are dependent class so similar to your relative glasses. Sometimes it is important to cut out are dependent clauses in order to get the full meaning of her sentence. So both what we've looked at. So for modifiers and relative classes, those are dependent clauses. They cannot stand on their own, I cannot say after I went to the store and then have a period, I need something else. After I went to the store, I climbed the tree. Then I have a fulsome. For this lesson, you'll find an exercise that asked you to identify which part of the sentence is a sentence fragment or a dependent clause. He cannot stand on its own. So go ahead and try that out. That's gonna help us. Let when we get to punctuation. Um and it will help you through the whole writing section. Thank you for watching this video. I hope you have a lovely day. 7. Parallelism, This is English Not Math: Welcome back to your s a T writing glass. Today we're gonna be talking about parallelism, but math. No parallelism in writing. So in that parallel lines, two lines don't intersect. Tree go on for forever. Never crossed in writing parallelism means two parts of a sentence or two words or more than two words that flow together and have the same structure. Um so, for instance, the sentence I like running, swimming and playing basketball. So in this sentence, I have three words that are parallel or the follow parallelism running, swimming and playing basketball. All three of these have an I N G ending, which makes them parallel. If I have the sentence, I like running to swim and I play basketball. This sentence sounds a lot more choppy, so we want to have everything very similar in structure so that it sounds smooth and pretty and because yes, 80 will test you out. It really I could have the sentence. I like two rooms, whim and play basketball, but I need everything in the same form running, swimming, playing, run, swim, play. Those are all fine. Let's look at another example of this in a comparison so the sentence. Playing basketball is better than swim. I'm hoping this the sudden sounds weird, Teoh. So if I have playing, I must also have swimming. Playing basketball is better than swimming, so we have to have our verbs in the same format. Also, if we're talking in past tense, we need to be doing that all the way through every part of her sentence on. We'll talk about this a little bit more once we get verb tenses, but for parallels, them is also very helpful. The sentence The girl ate dinner, washed her face and was sleeping. This one. It doesn't sound as weird as that previous one that I read. However, it still doesn't follow a parallel structure, so we want the same structure all the way through. We can correct this sentence. The girl ate dinner, washed her face and slept so that all three of those are in the past tense. And that we don't need. We don't need was to be in that. Sometimes we really want all three of them to follow the same format. Within this lesson, there are two exercises to help you practice parallelism. The 1st 1 asked you whether or not. The sentences correct or incorrect as is. And the second exercise. Ask you to place a piece of the sentence back in and determine which piece fits correctly. Thank you for watching this video. In our next video. We will be looking at S 80 style questions for everything we've talked about so far. So for a different type of clauses, parallelism all of that. So we'll be pulling for college boards. Be sure to watch that video. Um, I will seize him. Thank you. Bye. 8. Let's Practice! College Board Questions: Hello. Welcome back. Today we'll be looking at college board released questions from the S A T exam. So these air questions that the official company of the S A. T has put out as practice Some of the questions are actually from previously administered exams. So we want to use these questions as much as possible because they're going to give us a feel for how the actual exam is today. We'll be looking at the topics that we've covered in the videos thus far. So these are the relative clauses, the modifiers, sentence fragments and parallelism. For each question, I will be telling you, at which point you should pause the video so that you can actually try the question on your own before I go through a method to solve me. Before we tried each question, we want to be thinking about what question type this is. Is it a modifier? It doesn't ask about parallelism. Identifying what it's asking about can help us solve it a lot more efficiently. So let's look at the first question. Having become frustrated trying to solve difficult problems, no colleagues were nearby to share ideas. So I ask you to now pause this video with this question up and try it yourself. Read through the answer choices. Think about what type of clauses are in the sentence and how to best solve it. I hope you've tried the question and actually pause the video, So let's go through it together. So this type of question is on a modifier, especially since it starts with a verb, having become frustrated, trying to solve difficult problems so that part of her sentence is our modifier. So our rules for modifier is that the verb that is doing something in the beginning of that sentence must follow that comma. So in this sentence, no colleagues is the thing that follows the comma. What is our verb in the first part of that sentence, having become frustrated? So who is becoming fresh? Who has become frustrated in this sentence? Were the no colleagues, the ones that were frustrated? No. So this question right now, as is for inter choice A is not correct. We have to change it. The colleagues were not the ones that had become frustrated were the ideas the ones that have become fresh. No ideas nor the colleagues have been from frustrated. I was the one that was frustrated. I missed having colleagues nearby to consult. That's why I had become frustrated so that answer Trees D is the one that gives the correct subject that goes with the modifier. Having become frustrated trying to solve difficult problems, I missed having colleagues nearby. Let's look at our second question on closets that these skills are transferrable across professions, which makes them especially beneficial to 21st century students. Pauses video. Right now try it yourself. What is this question asking about? So this is about relative clauses, and I can tell that right away, because I see that that in the witch. So we need to decide. Do we need that? Which, or and or none of them in the sentence. So looking at it, the sentence actually starts with the word that that these skills were transferrable. So do we need that second that or which you don't actually need? Both in this sentence already have the words that I don't need to say that again, which gets rid of answer choice be which doesn't really help me in the situation. It actually makes it kind of unclear what I'm talking about, really? In this question, I don't need any extra work. It makes it unnecessarily wording and makes it unclear what the subject is of the sentence were saying. The idea that there transferrable is what makes him beneficial. We don't need another that or another, which we're not trying to add another detail. We're not trying to specify which they were talking about, which are the situations in which we use that in which. So for this question 43 our choices to delete the underlying portion. So Option D looking at 1/3 question. As a result, librarians must now be proficient curate er's of electronic information, compiling a catalogue and updating these collections. Pause the video here and take a minute to look at it yourself. We're gonna ask ourselves again, What is this question asking about this question? I see three verbs updating, compiling in cataloguing. So I should be thinking, Oh, this is parallelism. I need to make sure all three of these words are in the same form. They are parallel. Two of them right now are an i N G form. And one of them catalog is not so. We want to have, um, cataloging. So that gets rid of answer traces A and c the differences between B and D So do we need to say librarians, cataloguing, compiling librarians, cataloging and updating things collection. We don't need librarians again. We've already made it clear that librarians must now do these things. So by saying it again, it's also cutting through our flow and making this sound very choppy. So we want to stick. So all three just being identically the same with that i n g. Ending. So updating, compiling, cataloguing. So our choice d would be are correct. Answer. For our fourth question, this one actually has a question in it. This is the first order using that asked a question. So let's read the question first. Which choice most closely matches the stylistic pattern established earlier in the sentence ? Already wish everything you? What type of question is is gonna be? It's asking about stylistic pattern. Let's read. This happens. The room is simple but spacious, with a small sink encounter along one wall, a cast iron wood stove and some hanging pots and pans against another wall in a small table under a window of the third wall pause here, look at the Absa traces yourself. Think about which answer choice follows the stylistic pattern set up in the sentence. What is this question asking about? It's talking about stylistic pattern, which is parallelism, even though we don't have three verbs right next to each other. Here, we want to create a parallel set in structure or something that follows the same stylistic pattern. In the 1st 2 parts we have. Something is hanging along one wall. Something is hanging along another while. And then we want that next time to also be the third wall so that it is following the same powder. One wall, another wall. Third walk. The only one that does that currently is answer. Choice A or no change are correct. Answer for this question would be no change. A because it sets up that same structure, followed by in the two previous causes. Those air. Just a few of the college board released questions that ask about classes. In the next exercise, you'll find a few more questions that I'd like you to do on your own. You'll also find the answer explanations as released by College Board. Try views on your own so that you can continue practicing these skills. As we move forward, we're going to start looking at punctuation, which we will use a lot of information from our claws section to answer questions on punctuation. Thank you for watching this video. Congratulations on looking at some S A T questions. I hope that you were doing them along with me and that you were getting them correct while I was doing them. If you were struggling with any of these questions, please feel free to go back through the lessons. Try the exercises again. If you haven't already done them. Have a lovely day. 9. Next Steps! : Thank you for watching Week one of your city writing course. Stay tuned for week two, which will be coming out shortly. I hope you've enjoyed this chorus. Please leave me of review with your thoughts and your feedback. I'm continuously improving this course and adding new content and changing the videos. So your feedback is great. Please feel free to send me a question. I will do my best to get back to us soon as possible. I really want to help you get your best score. Thank you again. I hope you have a beautiful day and I hope you have already started to improve your s a T writing score. Goodbye.