SAT READING TRICKS
Here in this article, we provide you with essential tricks and hacks required for SAT reading section that will help you succeed in SAT reading.
TRICK #1: Do Easy type Passages first
The testmakers don’t write the SAT with student strengths in mind. This is especially true on SAT Reading, which requires students to work through 5 difficult passages in just over an hour.
The first of these passages is always literary fiction. This might seem beneficialwho doesn’t like fiction?but the literary passage on the SAT is often timeconsuming with detailoriented questions. That’s why it’s the first in the passage lineupthe testmakers want it to waste students’ time!
That’s why we encourage students to play to their strengths on SAT Reading and approach the passages out of order. They should start with the passage that is easiest for them and finish with the passages likely to present the most difficulty.
Before you dive into SAT Reading, quickly skim through the passage blurbs and identify your personal order of difficulty.
But here’s how a strategic test-taker might reorganize these passages of sat practice test 2 to play to his/her strengths, saving the difficult literary excerpt for the end:
● Passage #1: “Long a Mystery, How 500-Meter-High Undersea Waves Form is Revealed” (Science passage)
● Passage #2: “Can Economics Be Ethical?” (Social Science passage)
● Passage #3: Dual passage (Social Science)
● Passage #4: Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s 1869 address (History passage)
● Passage #5: Bronte’s The Professor (Literary narrative passage)
TRICK #2: Find evidence for every answer in the passage
It’s called Evidence-Based Reading for a reason! Students should get in the habit of backing up every answer choice with specific evidence from the passage. This means actually marking the text that proves an answer is correct.
It can also be helpful to prove wrong answer choices wrong using evidence from the passage. It’s always easier to find wrong answer choices than it is to locate a correct one.
Remember: if an SAT Reading answer is 1% wrong, it’s 100% wrong.
TRICK #3: On the dual passage, divide and conquer
On the dual passage, take a look at the answers before you dive into reading the passages. How many are associated with passage 1? Passage 2? Both passages?
We recommend starting with the passage that has the most questions associated with it: work this passage and its questions first, and then work the other passage and its questions.
Save the questions about both passages for the end.
This allows students to focus on only one passage at a time. This can be vital for more challenging dual passages, such as those from older texts.
TRICK 4: Actively read the passage for main ideas Many students are tempted to read every passage from start to finish.
But remember: SAT Reading passages are complex, dense, and often very boring. Your retention of passage details is likely to be minimal unless you read actively
What does it mean to read actively?
Make annotations as you read to keep yourself engaged, and prioritize the passage’s main ideas. Details will be less important on SAT Reading passages, as the questions will largely concern main ideas. Zero in on the topic and concluding sentences.
Other things to pay attention to:
● Passage structure
● Transition words
● Statements of opinion
● Thesis statements
● Keywords from the questions
TRICK #5: Cover up the answer choices for each question
The test-makers are pros at creating very attractive wrong answer choices. Don’t get lost in these traps, especially after all that hard work you’ve done working the passage!
That’s why we tell students to cover up the answer choices for each question. Pretend each question is free-response and make your prediction based on the passage research you’ve completed.
Then it simply becomes a matching game--determine which answer choice best matches your prediction, and be wary of answers that sound almost good enough.
TRICK #6: Don’t leave any questions blank
There is no wrong answer penalty on the SAT. Students earn the equivalent of one point for each correct question. They simply don’t earn any points for blank or incorrect answers.
What does that mean? Guessing is to your advantage!
Don’t leave any questions unanswered, regardless of how many passages you attempt. When guessing, choose the same letter, as you are statistically likely to get more correct answers this way than by choosing random letters.
Trick #7: Approach Command of Evidence questions strategically
The Evidence-Based Reading section is full of Command of Evidence questions, which look like this:
These often cause students a lot of grief. Yet changing your mindset to find evidence for every answer in the text can help with these, as well as the following tip.
We encourage students to read the question stem of the question prior to one of these. Then, skip those answers and start working on the Command of Evidence question.
In this fashion, you’ll be using the answer choices to the Command of Evidence question to effectively answer that first question.
For the example above, that would mean FIRST reading the question stem for #45:
Once you’ve answered the Command of Evidence question (in this case, question #46), choosing the lines that best answer the prior question, it’s time to tackle the answers for the prior question (in this case, #45). The right answer will simply be a paraphrase of the lines you’ve chosen for the Command of Evidence question.
Trick #8: Familiarize yourself with typical wrong answer choices
As we’ve already mentioned, it’s often easier to find wrong answer choices than to hunt for right ones. The more you can become familiar with the SAT’s trademark wrong answers, the more easily you’ll be able to work your process of elimination.
Be wary (doesn’t mean they are 100% wrong but probably wrong) of the following wrong answer types on SAT Reading:
● Extreme answers (with words like “never” or “always”)
● Ones that lift keywords directly from the passage
● Answers that require you to make huge logical leaps/inferences
● Details that look “right” but are distorted (1% wrong = 100% wrong)
● Too general or vague answers
Another trick is to identify the one word that makes an answer wrong. This can be very revealing--sometimes the difference between a wrong answer and a right answer is just a handful of letters!
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