Before continuing the discussion, let’s clear front on the terminology we use here. “Idea”, as used here, means the key idea of a passage. A passage may start with one idea insufficient or conflicting with its key idea, such an idea is also dubbed as “idea” here even though it is not the key idea. “Evidence,” on the other hand, includes a lot of things: proof, description and narration. Proofs can be factual evidence to an idea, or a reasoning point. These “evidences” are used to support the ideas and sometimes ideas by themselves too.
Most of the EOI questions ask students the following tasks in the “evidence” level in the IES/D structure. In another word, SAT cares a lot about your capacity to express the idea, when there is one, fluently.
While the third task belongs to the domain of grammar, the first and second tasks are the two categories that SAT started to wage heavily as means to test your EOI. It is estimated that 9 of every ten American high school juniors are not able to perform both tasks successfully. This is probably due to a chronicle deficit accumulated throughout K-12 stages, a problem whose diagnosis is far beyond a couple of blog articles. Instead, let’s focus on a structural fix in your writing.
Whether any information belongs to a paragraph depends on its logical relevancy to the evidence, or idea, and rest information in the paragraph. Relevancy can be best defined by referring to the IES/D structure but not otherwise loose terms.
Referring to the previous article, IES/D structure takes a few, or three, popular variations. Paragraphs in these variations can be as simple as “I” or “E,” or composite “IE” or “IEI.”
In any of these cases above, you may try to read the context without the information in question. If the absence causes insufficiency and/or incompletion, the information shall be brought back. Incompletion happens where the discussion seems broken in its line of logic. For example, it often sounds awkward that an “IEI” paragraph without an “E” detail that could lead to the introduction of a second idea. Take the following sample for incompletion from an SAT official practice:
Over the past generation, people in many parts of the United States have become accustomed to dividing their household waste products into different categories for recycling. For example, paper may go in one container, glass and aluminum in another, regular garbage in a third. (a) Recently, some US cities have added a new category: compost, organic matter such as food scraps and yard debris. (b) Like paper or glass recycling, composting demands a certain amount of effort from the public in order to be successful. But the inconveniences of composting are far outweighed by its benefits.
The paragraph is an “IEI.” It first sets up the idea of household waste categorization, then provides exemplary details such as paper, glass and, further, compost. After mentioning the efforts of all waste categorization, it introduces the second idea that composting is still a better-than-not endeavor. It also foreshadows the discussion in the following paragraphs. Try taking either (a) or (b) away, and feel how the whole paragraph would seem broken.
These above are paragraphs that with an “I,” what if a paragraph is only concerned with “E.” There is no fundamental difference between simple “I” and “E” paragraphs. While being used as an evidence to support the idea of the passage, information in the “E” paragraph independently falls in same principles as for the “I” paragraphs. In fact, we can treat such “E” as an idea of its own. From the same compost practice article, the following sample can tell us what sufficiency looks like.
Most people think of banana peels, egg shells, and dead leaves as “waste,” but compost is actually a valuable resource with multiple practical uses. (A) When utilized as a garden fertilizer, compost provides nutrients to soil and improves plant growth while deterring or killing pests and preventing some plant diseases. (B) It also enhances soil texture, encouraging healthy roots and minimizing or eliminating the need for chemical fertilizers. (C) Better than soil at holding moisture, compost minimizes water waste and storm runoff, increases savings on watering costs, and helps reduce erosion on embankments near bodies of water. (D) In large quantities (which one would expect to see when it is collected for an entire municipality), compost can be converted into a natural gas that can be used as fuel for transportation or heating and cooling systems.
The paragraph begins with its “E” that is also an idea itself—compost are valuable and useful. It follows with four details of its usefulness as (A) organic fertilizer, (B) soil enhancer, (C) moisture holder, and (D) source of natural gas. Looking at these details, we find that A, B and C are all ways how compost makes plants healthy while D is another kind of use. Therefore, D is indispensible in this paragraph and have to be placed after ABC. On the other hand, A, B and C talk about how compost making plants healthy by fertilizing, moistening, texturing and keeping way pests and diseases, but in an overlapping way. In case you are asked to delete one, B is the one least needed because it was overlapped by A.
At the current required level of SAT, none of A, B and C needs to be deleted because each of them contains information logically relevant to the usefulness of compost. The problem here is the structure of the expression among ABC does not following a mutually exclusive pattern. That’s the cause for its overlapping tone. If none of ABC can be removed, at least they are to be revised. One way of revising it can be the following, thus expression becomes more concise while maintaining its sufficiency.
Compost can be used as a garden fertilizer, providing organic nutrients and holding soil moisture for the plants. In addition, at its presence in the soil, compost also helps to kill pest, fend ways diseases and reducing erosion on embankments from nearby bodies of water.
+ + + Take Away + + +
1. Determine the passage’s and paragraph’s IES/D structure.
2. Determine which way the information functions, either sufficiency or completion.
3. Determine your options in the question that fits best the above conclusion.