One of the most important components of the SAT is the Reading Test. Reading can be a daunting task to tackle, but fear not! With the right strategies and techniques, you can boost your score and increase your chances of success.
Are you preparing to take the SAT?
If so, one of the most important components of the exam is the Reading Test. Reading can be a daunting task to tackle, but fear not! With the right strategies and techniques, you can boost your score and increase your chances of success. In this article, we will be exploring 10 tips to help you boost your SAT Reading Test score.
Tip 1: Know What to Expect
Let's begin by looking at the SAT structure, and where the reading section fits in.
The SAT is broken down into four distinct sections:
- Writing and Language
- Optional Essay.
Reading is the first of the four sections, with the following structure:
You get 65 minutes to answer 52 multiple choice questions covering 5 passages, giving you 13 minutes per passage.
The test has four different categories of passages:
- US or World Literature
- US Founding Document or Great Global Conversation (History)
- Social Sciences
- Two Science passages that range in difficulty.
Each passage has between 600 and 700 words.
What does the reading section test?
- Your reading comprehension is tested, including your interpretation of information and ideas, your analysis of the rhetorical structure, and your ability to synthesize concepts.
- Each question corresponds to a passage, and you can expect to see graphic information and one paired passage.
- Paired passages are next to each other, with a series of questions about the passages individually and in comparison.
So, if you are prepared and know what to expect, you can spend more time on passages that you find more difficult, and less on the easier ones. Make sure to budget your time appropriately!
Tip 2: Take a Practice Test
This is crucial for discovering your weaknesses.
To determine your weak areas, you must first take a practice exam.
Even if you don't finish in the allocated 65 minutes, continue and finish the exam.
Mark the questions you answered after time was up.
Score your exam twice.
- Score your actual score as if you wrote the real test up to where you ran out of time.
- Score the test including the answers you provided in extra-time.
This process will help you determine where your weaknesses lie.
Here's what your score means:
- If you finished all the questions within the allowed 65 minutes and your score is lower than you would like, your weakness lies in the areas of content and strategy.
- If your test score falls within 3 questions of your extra time score, but lower than your ideal score, content and strategy are also the areas of your weakness in this case.
- If your real score falls below three questions of your extra-time score, and you're not happy with your score, your focus should be on improving time management and strategy.
Note: Doing thousands of practice questions and writing multiple tests will not improve your reading score if you do not then identify your weaknesses and work on them. Especially in the reading questions because they are so variable.
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Tip 3: Evaluate Your Test in Depth:
You can learn a lot from thoroughly evaluating your test results. In fact, it is the most effective way to identify the problematic areas.
- Look at each question and allocate a percentage of how confident you were with your answer.
- Highlight any questions that had less than 80% confidence, which means you either guessed the answer or spent a lot of time on the answer.
- Go over all the questions you got wrong, and compare those you highlighted with the answer sheet to see where you went wrong.
- See if there is any pattern in the types of questions you got wrong.
Don't disregard any question as a silly mistake, and don't just accept that you made the wrong choice, figure out why. Keep a record of your set results and weaknesses you identify. Once you’ve worked out a strategy to deal with them, write another test and record your progress.
Discovering your weakness is more complicated than you might think, but help is available.
Amikka's tutor for SAT Prep scored in the 98th percentile on the SAT. Her approach favors interactive sessions with her students and keeping them engaged through problem-solving strategies, mini lessons, and review.
Her teaching style aligns greatly with Amikka’s values, whose test-taking philosophy is that improvements in time management, content mastery, and general exam strategy are the main keys to success.content mastery, and general exam strategy are the main keys to success.
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Tip 4: Read Only What Matters
Rather than spending great effort attempting to master the content of the passage, you should use the text as a resource to answer the questions. Refrain from getting stuck on minor information and instead quickly skim the text and stay focused on the relevant points.
Try different methods to improve your reading speed and retention.
- Skim the passage then read the questions and go back to the lines containing the answer.
- Read the questions, then skim the passage and mark the sections with the relevant information.
- Read the passage and then answer the questions. (the longest option)
Try them out and choose the best method for you, which may help with timing issues you may have.
Tip 5: Have a Strategy for Time Management
There are several ways to improve time management. Here's one example.
Using a skimming method of reading should get you through a passage in under 3 minutes, and answering questions should take 30 seconds each.
That means that you'll answer all 52 questions from 5 passages within 41 minutes. Even if you spend extra seconds on more complicated passages or answers, the easier ones will take less time.
Practice this process that could allow you 24 minutes extra time to double-check your answers.
Tip 6: Double Check Only Where Necessary
Mark the questions you feel confident about. Spend your double-checking minutes on those that you were less confident about.
Tip 7: Reword and Answer
Skim the passage and the questions, underlining any words or sentences that seem unnecessary. Reword them into simple English and form your own answer. Now, look at the answer choices and determine which is correct.
Remember only one answer will be correct. Ensure that your choice has evidence from the passage.
Tip 8: Answer Specific Questions First
General questions take longer to answer than specific questions. Answer specific questions first, and by the time you've done those you would have gathered enough knowledge of the passage to answer the general questions.
- Specific questions are those that reference line numbers, paragraphs, or graphic information.
- General questions refer to the bigger picture like the main idea, purpose, structure of the passage.
Tip 9: Practice Eliminating Wrong Answer Choices
The skill to identify wrong answers will hugely benefit your time management. Look out for:
Too narrow answers are those that don't explain the entire passage in the one sentence.
Too broad answers are those that refer to many examples instead of one in the passage.
Answers outside of the passage are those that are clearly there to confuse you, like tempting you to base your answer on your personal opinion rather than the specific fact in the passage.
Inverted answers are also there to trick students who read too fast and answer in response to a keyword they picked up in the text, but in the answer, that word is used out of context.
Tip 10: Own Your Weaknesses and Deal with Them
Addressing your weakness typically involves three areas:
Improve time management: Practice reading for speed, learn how to reduce the time you spend answering questions, and change the way you go through passages.
Improve your strategy: Approach each passage and question with a method of reading and answering that you have established as most effective for you.
Content Issues: Examine what questions you got wrong to identify a pattern in the types of questions that you have problems with.
Practice is essential to achieving your dream score. Expect fluctuations in your scores, but be persistent and keep on practicing – not blindly but with a structured plan.
That brings us to a BONUS TIP, one that might change your future!
Bonus Tip: Get a Free Consultation with Amikka Learning
Amikka's course on SAT Reading comprises 48 video lessons and five practice exams with answer sets. Amikka also offers one-on-one tutoring to suit your unique needs.
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