The entire SAT Verbal section challenges students. However, students often find the Expression of Ideas section the most difficult. Unlike the Conventions of Usage, Sentence Structure, and Punctuation questions, which cover grammatical rules and have 3 distinct incorrect answer choices, Expression of Ideas answers are often all grammatically correct.

So how do you choose?

Learn the Three C’s to answer Expression of Ideas questions correctly:

Right Answers will be:  

  • Clear,
  • Concise, 
  • Consistent

Start from this point. Essentially, the SAT wants us to communicate the most specific, clearest information as quickly as possible.

Understanding the question types and how you should answer them is the next step. Our expert SAT tutors have pooled their knowledge to give you their best tips to ace the Expression of Ideas section:

  • Effective Language Use
    • WHAT: these questions ask about redundancies in language, test your knowledge of vague pronouns (pronouns with an unclear subject – always avoid these!) and matching tone.
    • HOW: focus on delivering the clearest, shortest answer. You always want to convey the most information in the fewest words. Does the question have a specific goal? Circle it and ensure you answer it.
  • Organisation
    • WHAT: these questions largely deal with transitions between sentences and paragraphs, introductions and conclusions to passages, and sentence order.
    • HOW: Context is key.
  • Development 
    • WHAT: these questions require you to decide which answer choice best achieves the author’s goal and whether to add or delete a sentence.
    • HOW: Again, context is key. Find the specific purpose of the question and check the context of the paragraph to anticipate whether it matches. For “add or delete a sentence”, it is particularly crucial to find the main point first: you must ensure that the sentence matches the main point closely and does not repeat any information already given.

The Expression of Ideas section can be difficult, but it is extremely doable with help from the experts! If you have further questions about the SAT Writing & Language section or would like to increase your score, please contact our Client Service Team to set up a lesson with one of our Ivy-League tutors.

SAT Writing & Language: Ace Expression of Ideas
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