Suppose you get this SAT Question:
The author discusses Pierre Trudeau’s election (lines 12-17) in order to…
What line numbers have the answer to this question?
One might expect the answer to be in lines 12 to 17. After all, the question says “line 12-17.” However, those lines are merely where Pierre Trudeau’s election was mentioned, not necessarily where the answer to the question is located. In fact, it’s probably somewhere in lines 10 to 11. Let’s give some context. Here’s what the pass might say…
Charisma can go a long way in politics, even leading to the
a relative newcomer to become prime minister.
Pierre’s Trudeau’s election centered around his personality
and his good looks. He became so well-liked that someone coined the
term “Trudeaumania.” When he campaigned, girls screamed adoringly.
The 47-year-old had been in politics for just three years but managed to
get the most important political spot in Canada, in part because of his
Let’s rephrase the SAT question:
Why does the author mention Pierre Trudeau’s election?
Pierre Trudeau’s election serves as an example. Why do authors put examples in essays? They do so to support general statements. Furthermore, those general statements usually come before the example. So you should expect the answer in lines 10-11.
The author mentioned the election to support the idea that charisma is an important aspect in helping a politician become prime minister. So you should look for an answer choice similar to that statement.
You might way, “Well, I didn’t know the passage. How could I know the correct line numbers.” It doesn’t matter. An example is in a passage to support a general statement almost always stated previously. So when the passage asks why an example is there, look above the example for the reason.
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