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The SAT Critical Reading section is often times grumbled at, underestimated, and overshot. What do you need to do to get a (near) perfect score? Here is a top five list of golden tips that can help improve your scores.
1. Read the introduction.
The beginning of a reading selection usually sets the tone for the entire passage. Carefully read the opening and notice the author’s tone. This is the key to understanding what the focus is. There are often clues which can foreshadow the outcome, or color the basic premise of the passage too. Take your time and read it slowly and carefully.
2. Skim for gold.
Some might think that skimming = skimping when it comes to the SAT Critical Reading section. But it’s not the truth! It is important to read the introduction carefully (see step #1). But from there, students need to focus on noticing and uncovering the nuggets of truth in the passage. Believe it or not, the SAT loads the reading selections with nonsensical content specifically created to throw you off track. Do not fall for it! Keep your radar set to skim and pick up only the golden nuggets.
3. X Marks the Spot!
When you find those golden truths, mark it. Circle or underline these important points. Recognize it, highlight it and move on quickly. These notes will be there to reference when answering the questions at the end. These notes will help illuminate the answers to the questions: What’s the author’s purpose? What’s the main idea? What’s the author’s opinion?
4. Look right on the page
Every answer to the SAT Critical Reading questions are contained within the passage you just read, skimmed and highlighted. The answer is right there on the page! Read the question and go back to your notes to find the answer. If asked to reference a specific part of the passage, go back and read it: read a little before and a little after those referenced lines to have a better chance of seeing the answer. Take your time. This is where you use the extra time saved by skimming. The answer is there.
5. Beware of imposters.
The SAT Critical Reading is tricky enough already, but begin reading the answers and it becomes evident that students must have fortitude to succeed. There are multiple answers that are similarly worded just to be confusing. Worse than that, there are answers that are perfectly rational and logical, but were never even mentioned within the reading selection and have nothing to do with the purpose, main idea or opinion of the author. To counter this nonsense, use the 100% effective method of eliminating these improbable answers first. This is where it is, again, good to take a few extra moments to clearly read through the question and the answers until the correct answers literally jumps off the page.
Trust your gut, keep your senses alert and use these tips to guide you towards your ideal SAT Critical Reading score.
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