Secret Lines

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Question

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?

Answer

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…

lines 10-11:

Charisma can go a long way in politics, even leading to the
a relative newcomer to become prime minister.

lines 12-17:

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
charisma.

The Secret

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.

A Tutor or Instructor Will Teach You the Secrets

Your Score Booster delves into this secret much more deeply and reinforces it with exams.

Examining dozens of real SATs, we’ve figured out how the SAT test writers think and how you can turn the test writers’ tricks against them to boost your SAT score. Students who come to Your Score Booster after taking other SAT courses are often frustrated that they didn’t learn these SAT secrets elsewhere.

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