Language Tips

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Language Tips
2012-11-19 11:34:27
Language SSAT Entrance Exams

Expect to be tested on your basic understanding of the English language. That means you need to have a pretty good grasp on language points such as grammar, spelling, capitalization, punctuation, and usage. Of course, it can't hurt to have a few tips in your back pocket either:
Show Answers:

  1. Analyze each answer choice one at a time and look for
     error clues
  2. For usage questions, read the choices and check the pronouns and verbs. If the verbs and pronouns look okay, 
    search for problems with sentence construction or word choice
  3. For punctuation questions, examine the way the choices apply commas, semicolons, and colons.
    examine the way the choices apply commas, semicolons, and colons
  4. Memorize the
    punctuation rules
  5. Use commas 
    to separate a series of three or more items.
  6. Use a comma to separate a 
    beginning dependent clause from an independent clause.
  7. Separate independent clauses in a sentence 
    with a comma and conjunction or just a semicolon.
  8. Separate nonessential elements from the rest of the sentence 
    with commas.
  9. Never use a punctuation mark to separate a verb from its complement or a preposition from its object.
    a verb from its complement or a preposition from its object.
  10. Memorize spelling 
    rules and their exceptions, including these major ones:
  11. Put i before e
    except after c unless ei is pronounced with a long a sound (i.e. neighbor and weigh).
  12. Form plurals by adding 
    -s to the ends of words, except when the original word ends in o, y, f, fe, ch, sh, or ss.
  13. Double the consonant before adding 
    -ed or -ing to a base word that ends in a consonant and is stressed on the preceding vowel.
  14. Commit the facts about possessives 
    to memory
  15. You make singular nouns and plural nouns that don't end in -s possessive 
    by adding 's to the end of them.
  16. You make plural nouns that end in -s possessive by 
    adding an apostrophe to the end of them.
  17. The possessive forms of pronouns that come before other nouns are 
    my, your, his, her, its, our, their,and whose. 
  18. The possessive form of pronouns that come at the end of a clause or are used as subjects are 
    mine, yours, his, hers, its, ours, theirs, and whose.
  19. Always capitalize the following:
    • The first word in a sentence
    • The first word in a quotation that's a complete sentence
    • Proper names and nouns that are used as names, such as Dad
    • Titles of people, songs, and literary works
    • Days of the week, months of the year, and holidays
  20. Conquering Reading Comprehension Questions
    • Read through the passage before answering the questions.
    • As you read, focus on the passage's main point, the author's tone, and paragraph topics. Don't spend time worrying about the specific details of the passage.
    • Eliminate answer choices that don't relate to the information in the passage or that contain debatable words such as always, never, and so on.
    • Use the information in the passage to answer the questions, not information that's in your head.
    • Choose general answers for main-point questions.
    • Don't infer too much for inference questions. The correct answers to these questions are solidly based on clues in the passage and not your vivid imagination.
    • Keep in mind that the answers to specific-information questions may paraphrase the information in the passage.
  21. Ace Vocabulary Questions 
    • Start reading a lot and watch for unfamiliar words. When you see them, look up their meanings and make flashcards of the words and their definitions.
    • Memorize common prefixes, roots, and suffixes.
    • Know whether you're looking for synonyms, antonyms, or analogies.
    • Check the context of the word if it's given to you. In other words, use what you know about the words that the underlined word is put with to figure out the specific meaning that the test is looking for.
    • Try breaking up a word if you don't know what it means. For instance, you may not know the meaning of counterpoint, but you know that the prefix counter means "against," and you probably know that a point is a position or stance. By breaking down the word, you can deduce that counterpoint means "against a stance," which is pretty close to its actual meaning of "a contrasting but related element or theme."
  22. What to Take to the Entrance Exam
    • Bring the following items with you to your entrance exam:
    • Your registration confirmation: You need your registration receipt to prove you've paid for your test and are authorized to take it.
    • An ID: Take in some documentation to prove that you are in fact you. Acceptable forms of ID include school identification cards and library cards.
    • #2 pencils: Make sure you have plenty of sharpened #2 pencils on hand. They should have new, clean erasers too so you don't leave extra marks on your answer sheet.
    • Whatever you do, leave these items at home:
    • Cellphones, calculators, MP3 players, watches that contain calculators, and all other electronic devices: You can't have access to any outside information while taking the exam, so don't even bother trying to sneak in tools that can connect you with the outside world.
    • Scratch paper and books: You aren't allowed to take in paper of any kind. However, you can (and should) write in your test booklet.
    • Highlighters, pens, and protractors: The only writing utensils permitted during the exam are #2 pencils.