The Reading questions on the new SAT are quite different than they were on the old SAT. The biggest change is that there are no more long reading passages – every question comes with its own short passage. This change and others, including new question types, require students to use new strategies and techniques to master the digital SAT.
Here are 5 simple tips to help you be more effective on the Reading questions on the SAT.
- Read the question first so you know what you’re looking for. Then you can read the passage while looking for information that will help you answer the question.
- Find keywords in the text, especially transition words like but, however, therefore, because, and so. These words are important because they show the relationship between ideas and are essential to the structure of an argument or claim.
- Predict the answer, then see where the SAT agrees with you. The SAT writes very tempting wrong answers, so start by deciding what YOU think the answer should be, then see if there’s an answer that matches your expectations.
- Eliminate individual words that ruin wrong answers. Some answers are 90% correct, but they are ruined by a word that is incorrect because it’s too extreme, too precise, or outside of the scope of the passage. This strategy is especially helpful when you have a 50/50 choice between answers. Some answers can also be split in half so that you can focus on one piece of them at a time.
- Return to the text – there must be evidence! Every question must ultimately rely on evidence from the text. When in doubt, go back to the text for more information. Remember, your job is to think like an attorney: what MUST be true based on the text?
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