hints, pointers, strategies for English organization questions

<p>My S has made great strides in the all other areas of the English section. However, the organization-type questions continue to confound him. Does anyone have any advice on how to approach these types of questions?</p>


<p>Are you referring to questions that ask about the reordering of sentences and paragraphs?</p>

<p>Yes, it's the rhetorical skills questions - mostly organization, some style, not so much the strategy questions, with which my S has difficulty. Punctuation, grammar, and sentence structure he is always 95-100% correct on. But the organization and some style questions are dragging his score down.</p>

<p>There really is no trick for those. The way I got good at them is simply by taking practice tests, which has caused me to start noticing trends and patterns in the writing. I hate to say it, but repetition in is key. Have him take a few more english practice sections, maybe you can find some strictly rhetorical questions on the web. </p>

<p>Also, why do all parents on this forum refer to their sons and daughters as S and D? We don't refer to our parents as M or D, by shortening a child's name to a single letter seems a bit degrading or impersonal.</p>

<p>I agree with you, dfree, on the account that referring to one's own child as my S or D is a tad weird. I don't get it either.</p>

<p>I disagree with you, however, on the account that repetition is the only way to get good at sentence/paragraph reorganization.</p>

<p>Reorganizing sentences on the ACT is actually very straightforward. Typically a paragraph with bracketed numbers will contain at least one sentence whose antecedent and predicate don't go together very well. Upon encountering the sentence reordering question, one of the multiple choice options allows you to make the antecedent-predicate combination better upon reordering. My recommendation, then, would be for your son to go through his old tests and see if he can detect the subjects and antecedents of each sentence. He should also be able to identify whether a sentence is good as an introduction to the paragraph, good as a conclusion, or good as a supporting detail. The ACT is only rarely more tricky than testing whether or not a student can detect a sentence order that would make for more coherent paragraphs.</p>

<p>As far as reorganizing paragraphs are concerned, it's basically the same idea. Check for antecedents. If a topic sentence starts with "he" or "they", the chances are good that it's probably not an introductory paragraph to the passage. Some passages are also written in chronological order (histories and biographies are good examples). Reordering paragraphs may be as simple as making sure the dates mentioned in one paragraph proceed the dates mentioned in another.</p>

<p>Hopefully this helps.</p>

<p>I see your point dsus. For me, repetition was how I started realizing where certain sentences should be placed in paragraphs, or certain paragraphs in a passage. You are definitely right that if there are numbered sentences/paragraphs, a re ordering question is likely around the corner.</p>

<p>Thank you dsus444. I appreciate the guidance and will discuss those strategies with S. Then it's back to practice, practice, practice.</p>

<p>I don't think doing a lot of these problems will help without understanding the underlying logic. It's more of a reasoning problem, so repitition will help only if you can denote why you got the problem wrong in the first place.</p>