Unequivocally, the best method for increasing a student’s score on the critical reading section of the SAT is to learn more vocabulary.  While vocabulary only makes up about a third of the questions, learning has an impact on a student’s performance on the entire section in four important ways:

  1. The more vocabulary a student knows, the more sentence completion questions he or she will get correct and the faster a student will finish these questions.
  2. Finishing the sentence completion questions more quickly allows students to have more time to read and analyze the reading passages, and, because most students struggle to read the passage and still finish the section in time, they greatly benefit from the valuable one or two extra minutes for this portion.
  3. The reading comprehension passages and even questions on these passages have very difficult vocabulary.  Students will better understand the passages and questions with a higher vocabulary.
  4. Finally, if students know the definitions of the words in a passage, they will not fumble over the meaning of sentences and will thus finish the reading more quickly and answer the questions more quickly, which again provides them with valuable time to better analyze the passage and get to all of the questions.
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