The Organization and Logic questions will ask you to identify the sequence, pattern, relationship, structure, and/or summary of the passage. You might also be asked to identify how the passage is written: narrative, informative, instructional, persuasive, etc.
These question types will often ask what the author will write about next, the purpose behind specific sections of the text, or what certain sections of the passage are meant to do. Note that all of these types of questions deal with how the author either organizes the passage or the logic behind a section of the passage.
Consider the following passage:
A potential Organization and Logic question could be:
1. The purpose of the last sentence is to
(A) demonstrate how the British should try to graph what it means to be American.
(B) point out geographical features and tendencies of America.
(C) show the incorrect ways the British try to understand the Americans.
(D) honor several British people for attempting to understand America.
This question prompts us to identify what the logic behind the last sentence actually is. First, we must locate the last sentence, which begins at the end of line 44.
The last sentence states that “Admiration for Niagara, which is half British anyway, or enthusiasm for the “Wild West”—your better-class Englishman always thrills to the frontier—is no step at all toward rightly appreciating America.”
At a glance, this sentence is difficult to understand for most students! Break up the sentence using the punctuation as a guide to help you better understand the main purpose of this sentence.
The part between the two em-dashes, which look like —, can be totally ignored since it is non-essential to the sentence.
Something is non-essential to a sentence when it isn’t required for the sentence to make sense.
We can also ignore the “which is half British anyway” at the beginning since that is enclosed in two commas, creating an appositive phrase. Don’t worry, you don’t need to know what these are called yet, but you should understand that this part of the sentence is also non-essential!
After taking out those tricky bits, we can rewrite the sentence as “Admiration for Niagara or enthusiasm for the “Wild West” is no step at all toward rightly appreciating America.”
This is significantly clearer! The author is clearly stating that simply admiring the wildness of Niagara Falls or being excited about the Wild West is not a good way to appreciate America. This means that most likely someone is not appreciating America in the right way. Who could that be?
This is where those parts we ignored come into play. Notice the references to “British” and “Englishman.” The author is speaking directly to a British audience and criticizing how the British understand and appreciate America.
The answer choice that this best aligns with is:
show the incorrect ways the British try to understand the Americans.
It’s important to realize that all of the other answer choices have elements of truth to them.
For instance, answer choice B highlights the geographical features of America, which are discussed in terms of Niagara Falls and the Wild West. However, this answer choice does not identify the purpose of the sentence, which is to criticize how the British only appreciate America for its wilderness.
The reason you are tested on organization and logic is to get you to think more critically about why the author is organizing the passage the way that she is and how this is likely to affect the argument or narrative she is presenting. Keep in mind that many organization and logic questions require a deeper understanding of the text; breaking the text up at punctuation marks and understanding large scale structure is crucial to you answering these questions correctly.
Answers to Practice Questions