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Most students will struggle with Part A and Part B of the SHSAT because they are going to think of them as “Revising/Editing” sections, and they might not have a lot of experience with revising and editing.  But, you’re not going to struggle.  You’re going to fight Part A and Part B as logic problems—thinking problems.
Making revisions as thinking problems is better for you.  Once you figure out what the problem is in the text, you’ll be able to laser-strike on the right answer!
There are six different revision problems you might face on Part A and Part B.  When you know what the revision problems are, you’ll be able to knock them out and move on to the next level of the game!

Problem 1: No Context

Especially for Part B, where there will be only one or two longer texts, there should be a context for the information given or argument made in the reading.  Even in Part A’s smaller texts, the readings should “hold together”—the three or four sentences should relate to each other. If there isn’t context, you won’t know what the text is supposed to say.

Problem 2: No Thesis

A thesis is a main point, and guess what?  The SHSAT writers love throwing reading passages in the exam that don’t make a point!  So, as the Master Reviser, you’ll be able to make sure that the text you read says something worth saying.

Problem 3: No Bones

Remember how editing relates to “structure” of the text?  Small fixes can boost the meaning of the text, help it make sense, and lead to the correct answer.  So, you’ll look out for the problem of “no bones”—when a passage is disorganized, contains irrelevant information, or includes facts that don’t support the thesis. If the passage doesn’t sound right in your head, you know that it doesn’t have the right bones, and you can fix that with an edit!

Problem 4: No Transitions

Transitions connect one idea to another.  Good writing has strong transitions.  It doesn’t make you think, “Huh?”.  The SHSAT writers, especially for Part B, like to leave out ideas that are important to the flow of the longer passages and see if you can pick out which ideas help the text make the most sense.  Good transitions will make the ideas “stick” together better, and so will make the writing clear.

Problem 5: No Evidence

If you’re reading a Part A or Part B text, and it doesn’t give a reason for its main idea.  That’s a problem!  Imagine that your family is trying to figure out what movie to watch this weekend.  Your folks want to go see an old ‘80s movie, and you want to see the new Marvel movie.  If you’re going to get to see your favorite superhero in action, you are going to have to be persuasive and give good reasons.  The SHSAT is no different.  If your reading passage doesn’t have evidence or reasons to support it, you will have to look for good reasons in the answers to revise it properly.

Problem 6: No Cohesion

Cohesion is when ideas hold together, and you know that when big ideas don’t hold together, it’s because there is No Transition.  But, sometimes ideas are thrown into an SHSAT text that don’t have anything to do with the main idea at all.  They might be really general, or completely specific but about the wrong topic.  You might even get an idea that seems outrageous.  This is always *awesome* when it happens, because passages that have No Cohesion are pretty easy to revise.  You’ll look for answers that save the main idea, provide good evidence, and improve the language in the selection.  When ideas cohere, the conclusion is persuasive.

ELA Pro Gamer Topics!

The above problems help you figure out where texts need revision.  In upcoming blogs, we’re GOING PRO!  There are topics that we’ll cover that any SHSAT test taker should become familiar with to beat the ELA and Level Up!  Some of the upcoming topics are for Pro Gamers who want to the best insider tips to beating the ELA on the SHSAT.

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