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SAT Reading: If You Never Really Liked to Read

This is for all of the students who cannot remember the last time they read a challenging book for kicks and would rather wash dinner dishes for three weeks than read Jane Austen (whose work appears on the SAT). What follows are some suggestions for the reluctant readers who are not looking forward to reading five passages in 65 minutes on the March SAT and answering 52 questions. 

  1. Do not read the text first. 
  2. Rather, do all of the line-reference questions first
  3. When the test asks, “In lines 51-52, Jasper uses the expression ‘lively encounter’ to indicate that,” make sure to read several lines above and several lines below to capture the answer. 
  4. For words in context, it’s the same drill. Start reading a couple of lines above and continue to read a couple of lines below, and let the text tell you what the word means. Quite often the test will use a secondary definition, or be sarcastic. Such as, “I just love studying for the SAT on Saturday mornings when all my friends get to sleep in.” 
  5. There will be roughly 10 coupled questions. A coupled question is made up of two questions. The first question does not have a line-reference; the question that follows it asks for the lines that support the answer to that question. A good way to answer coupled questions is to read the first question, but don’t try to answer it. Rather, jump down to the lines in the next question to find the ones that answer the initial question.  Once the lines have been identified, circle the right answer in the initial question. 
  6. Keep in mind when the test asks what the text “suggests” that this is an evidence-based exam, so the correct answer will be what you can conclude from what was stated
  7. Save the general questions (the ones without line-references) for last. Your answers to the line-reference questions will help to answer those questions. Read the first and last paragraphs of the text if you’re not quite sure of the answer.