Concision and Wordiness


As a general rule, the SAT wants you to use the most concise language possible.  This translates into the shortest answer most of the time.  Remember that deleting text is always the shortest way to write something.  The key to these questions is to look through your answer choices.

For instance, if you are faced with some unknown question

——  —- ——- ——— —— ——- ——– — — – ———- as he recalled what his father had told him previously.

B) then remembered the exact thing his father had said.
C) he remembered.
D) DELETE the underlined portion

You should first try out answer choice D, and then C.  One of them is almost certainly right.


You will have at least one, and up to three, questions that try and trick you by slipping in extra, unneeded words.  Like the previous sentence – you could have extra or unneeded but don’t need both!


  1. Always start with the shortest answer choice. If DELETE is an option, then try that out first. You should be thinking, “do I even need this for the sentence to work?”
  2. No PASSIVE VOICE! The SAT doesn’t allow passive voice, so never choose an answer that has this. Examples of passive voice: The dog was walked by Susan. The dishes were washed by Tim.

Some further examples:

A) eliminates
B) gets rid of completely
C) fully closes the door on
D) completely removes

A) interested in the fascinating thing
B) had great curiosity about the interesting thing
C) found the thing interesting
D) wanted to know more about this unknown thing

A) weekly event that occurred every seven days
B) happened once a week every Monday
C) occurred weekly
D) event happened fifty-two times a year on Mondays


The hidden repetition

Over the next decade, Apple would like to reduce their annual labor expenditures by 10 million dollars each year.
B) per year
C) every year
D) DELETE the underlined portion.

Annual means every year/each year/per year, so this would be repetitive. When DELETE is an answer choice, always investigate it first.