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PSAT Sample Questions

Writing Skills Section : PSAT Sample Improving Paragraph Questions

Passage 7:

(1) Until the discovery of the Rosetta stone, the hieroglyphic writing of the ancient Egyptians was indecipherable to scholars. (2) Egyptian hieroglyphic writing died out in the third century A.D. (3) The ancient Egyptian religion died out. (4) Priests were the ones who mostly used this type of writing. (5) For centuries afterward, no one knew how to read the many inscriptions on Egyptian temple walls. (6) Nevertheless, in 1799, the Rosetta Stone was found near the town of Rashid (called Rosetta by the English) in the Nile Delta in Egypt. (7) Here was the key to deciphering hieroglyphic writing.

Question: Which of the following is the best way to combine sentences 2, 3, and 4 (reproduced below) in order to convey clearly the relationship of the ideas?

Egyptian hieroglyphic writing died out in the third century A.D. The ancient Egyptian religion died out. Priests were the ones who mostly used this type of writing.

  1. Egyptian hieroglyphic writing, used mainly by priests, died out in the third century A.D. along with the ancient Egyptian religion.
  2. The ancient Egyptian religion died out in the third century A.D., as did Egyptian hieroglyphic writing, and it had been used mainly by priests.
  3. Egyptian hieroglyphic writing and the ancient Egyptian religion died out in the third century A.D., being used primarily by the priests.
  4. In the third century A.D., Egyptian hieroglyphic writing died out, but the ancient religion's priests were who used it most, and it ceased.
  5. Dying out in the third century A.D. was Egyptian hieroglyphic writing, the same time as the ancient Egyptian religion and its priests, the primary users.

Answer :A

Explanation:

The correct answer is choice A, which presents the information most smoothly, connecting all of the ideas logically. The other choices fail in this effort, and each concludes with a phrase that seems to dangle or be tacked on awkwardly. Choice A unites most successfully the idea about the priests' use of hieroglyphic writing with the information about the demise of the ancient Egyptian religion.

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