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Tips to score high on the New SAT Reading Test

To get a really high score on the SAT Reading Test, you need a solid, proven strategy that can help you ace any passage.

You may often get overwhelmed by the sheer overload of words and information. 5 passages, 500-750 words per passage, and 52 questions to answer in only 65 minutes make the Reading Test challenging. The passages are often not “easy read”, and the questions are often indirect or complex. Perhaps you find yourself reading the passage again and again, and still get nowhere! In the meanwhile, the clock is ticking.

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How do you avoid the problem that there is too much to read and understand? By not trying to read and understand everything at one go! Deal with one question at a time, and read the passage as you go, reading just what you need to read for each question.

Remember, you don’t have to do the passages in the order they are presented. First do the passages that you find easy.

Are you a science nut? Then start with the passage about the origin of the universe. A history buff? Then start with the passage about the Suffragettes. Do the passages in the order of difficulty, leaving what you find most difficult till the end.

Before every passage is a blurb: a short introduction to the passage usually in italics. Start the passage by first reading the blurb. Then look at the questions.

Questions are of two types. Some questions are about the passage as a whole, and these questions normally come first. Leave them till later.

Other questions are about a specific part of the passage. These specific questions usually contain line references or “lead words”. Additionally, specific questions are in rough chronological order.

Tackle the specific questions first. For each question, use your pencil and mark what you need to read for that question. Read it. Then, before you read the answer options, try to predict what the answer could be. Doing so will help you to avoid tempting wrong answers in the answer options.

Eliminating wrong answers is often easier than choosing the right answer. Your predicted answer may not entirely match any of the four options, so look for things that make the options wrong. With practice, you will get better at POE: Process of Elimination. By using POE well, you can often get to the right answer even for really difficult questions and faster!

When you finish answering all the specific questions, you will have a fairly good idea of the passage as a whole. Now you can attempt the general questions that you had skipped earlier.

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