SAT Writing Prep Test 1

Carefully read the passage and select the answer to each question that is most effective in improving the quality of the writing or in making the passage conform to the standard conventions of English.

Ulysses S. Grant: An Unusual Leader

On March 10th, 1864, President Abraham Lincoln (1) signed a brief document officially promoting then-Major General Ulysses S. Grant to the rank of Lieutenant General of the U.S. Army, tasking the future president with the job (2) of being the leader of all the Union troops against the Confederate Army.

The rank of lieutenant general (3) wasn’t officially in use since (4) 1798, at that time, President John Adams assigned the post to former President George Washington, in anticipation of a possible French invasion of the United States. One of Grant’s predecessors in the Civil War, Winfield Scott, had briefly earned the rank, but the appointment was only temporary (5) — really, use of the rank had been suspended after George Washington’s death in 1799.

In 1862, Lincoln asked Congress to revive the rank of lieutenant general in order to distinguish between the general in charge of all Union forces and other generals of equal rank who served under him in the field. Congress also wanted to reinstate the rank of lieutenant general, but only if Lincoln gave the rank to Grant. (6) The seeming incongruity that a lieutenant general outranks a major general is due to the derivation of the latter rank from sergeant major general, which was also subordinate to lieutenant general.

Lincoln preferred to promote then-Commanding General Henry Wagner Halleck to lead the Union (7) Army, which had been plagued by a string of ineffective leaders and terrible losses in battle. He was reluctant to promote Grant and risk boosting the general’s popularity; at the time Washington was abuzz with rumors that (8) much northern senators were considering nominating Grant instead of Lincoln at the 1864 Republican National Convention. After Grant publicly dismissed the idea of running for the presidency, Lincoln submitted to Congress’ choice and agreed to give Grant the revived rank. As lieutenant general of the U.S. Army, Grant was answerable only to Lincoln. Well-respected by troops and civilians, Grant earned Lincoln’s trust and went on to force the South’s surrender in 1865.

(9) A primary focus of Grant’s administration was Reconstruction, and he worked to reconcile the North and South while also attempting to protect the civil rights of newly freed black slaves. While Grant was personally honest, some of his associates (10) was corrupt and his administration were tarnished by various scandals. After retiring, Grant invested in a brokerage firm that went bankrupt, costing him his life savings. He spent his final days penning his memoirs, which were published the year he died and proved a critical and financial success.

Although Grant enjoyed a distinguished career in the military, he wrote that he never consciously chose the life of a soldier. As a student at West Point, he never expected to graduate, let alone lead the entire U.S. Army in a desperate but ultimately successful struggle to preserve the Union. In late 1884, he was diagnosed with throat cancer. Grant died at age 63 on July 23, 1885, in Mount McGregor, New York, in the Adirondack Mountains, (11) which he and his family were spending the summer. The former president was laid to rest in a tomb in New York City’s Riverside Park.

1. Which of the following sentences should be inserted at the beginning of this paragraph (9)?

 
 
 
 

2. Check underlined words and phrases (1) in the passage above.

 
 
 
 

3. Check underlined words and phrases (11) in the passage above.

 
 
 
 

4. Check underlined words and phrases (1) in the passage above.

 
 
 
 

5. Check underlined words and phrases (6) in the passage above.

 
 
 
 

6. Check underlined words and phrases (7) in the passage above.

 
 
 
 

7. Check underlined words and phrases (2) in the passage above.

 
 
 
 

8. Check underlined words and phrases (10) in the passage above.

 
 
 
 

9. Check underlined words and phrases (3) in the passage above.

 
 
 
 

10. Check underlined words and phrases (8) in the passage above.

 
 
 
 

11. The author of the passage is debating whether or not to delete the underlined portion (5). What should the author do?

 
 
 
 

Question 1 of 11

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