Knewton Blogs: Quick Tips for SAT Success - Reading Comprehension

Today's blog post comes again from Josh at Knewton. Enjoy.

As an apple falls from a tree, so does Josh's knowledge of the SAT...

As an apple falls from a tree, Josh's knowledge of the SAT travels swiftly to your head... Or something. So glad they ditched the analogies section.

If you've begun your SAT prep, you've probably realized that the SAT reading comprehension passages aren't exactly a walk in the park. In fact, the test-makers pride themselves on trying to confuse you by featuring passages with strange or unfamiliar subject matter—and it's not like you can Google the topic for some quick background. What's more, you only have a limited amount of time to read the passages and answer the attached questions.

The instructors at Knewton are here to help! Smart SAT strategies will help ensure you approach this part of the Critical Reading section with confidence—and improve your score!

Check out these quick tips to help you make the most out of the time allotted for reading comprehension questions:

1. Don’t spend all your time reading the passages. Instead, scan each passage for main ideas. You can often find the main argument in the first paragraph; once you locate it, skim through the rest of the passage to get a gist of the purpose of each subsequent paragraph. It's always a good idea to jot down a few notes in the margin to refer back to when it comes time to answer questions.

2. Easy passages first! If you’re into science, the easy passage for you might be the one that focuses on the biochemical make-up of pheasants. If you’re more of a literature type, you’ll probably gravitate towards the discussion of Shakespeare’s use of iambic pentameter. Either way, get the easy subject matter out of the way so you’ll have more time to focus on the tough stuff later on.

3. Read the questions carefully. In fact, you probably want to read them more carefully than the passages. Make sure you know what the question is asking before trying to arrive at an answer. There might be answer choices that are technically true—but that don’t answer the question at hand. The test-makers put these choices there on purpose—don't fall into their trap!

4. Answer general questions before detail questions. Detail questions will generally take more time to answer, as you’ll have to search through the passage for evidence. If you’ve skimmed well, you should be able to answer general, main-idea questions without too much of a problem. Don't forget to refer back to your margin notes to save time!

5. Don’t get creative. Hate to break it to you, but the SAT doesn’t want your opinion. You should be able to find evidence for all your answer choices in the passage—not in your head.

6. Don’t freak out. This one goes for the whole test. The time constraints of the reading comprehension section—of all the sections, in fact—can make for a stressful test-day experience. Take a deep breath if you start feeling overwhelmed. It's definitely important to keep a steady pace, but you also want to make sure you're giving yourself enough time to understand the general outlines of the passage, and the angle of the question, before attempting an answer.

Posted in Guest Bloggers | Comments Off on Knewton Blogs: Quick Tips for SAT Success - Reading Comprehension

Comments are closed.