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The following is a practice question for the SAT:

Fill in the blank to create a correct sentence:

"_____ you are missing three pages of work, your portfolio appears to be of extremely high caliber".

A. Except for the fact that

B. Besides that

I think choice B is right because this is a SAT question that is written to emulate the style of SAT test makers who like to make concise sentences the answer choices. However, the actual answer is A. Why is this a better choice?

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    @Ben Besides that, I think A sounds more natural. – user3169 Aug 21 '14 at 23:12
  • @user3169 just memorize the rule? – user8959 Aug 21 '14 at 23:45
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    @Ben Just understand their meanings. – Damkerng T. Aug 22 '14 at 1:44
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Conciseness isn't the issue here; usage is. The phrase besides that can't be used as an introductory clause. There's some good information about this written at this blog post:

Besides that” means “in addition to that”. You use it to refer to something after having mentioned it before. You can also use it to connect two sentences.

Had choice B been "Although" instead of "Besides that", then conciseness might have come into play. But this sentence:

Besides that you are missing three pages of work, your portfolio appears to be of extremely high caliber.

doesn't make any sense. The only way I can see starting a sentence like that with "Besides that" would be to add a comma, and, more importantly, change the last part to express something negative, to go along with the first part:

Besides that, you are missing three pages of work, and your portfolio appears to be of low caliber.

A sentence like that could be the conclusion of a longer missive:

There's a reason you only got a D in this class: your attendance was very spotty. Besides that, you are missing three pages of work, and your portfolio appears to be of low caliber.

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