An entire section of the SAT is devoted to testing reading ability, which means it’s important that your child spends some of their time honing their reading skills in order to get a great score.
Completing practice reading comprehension questions is an important way to prepare for this portion of the SAT, but it is not a complete solution. Young scholars will do best to also spend some time working on useful strategies that can help them get through the reading section effectively, and make the most of the limited time they have on exam day.
Wondering what kinds of strategies are worth practicing? Here are a few examples.
The odds are pretty good that your child won’t be asked extremely detailed questions about specific lines in the exam readings—like what a particular character said in a particular paragraph, or what color their car was. Instead, the SAT is likely to focus on more general, yet important things, like the tone or overall message of the written work.
This means it’s likely best not to waste precious exam time digging deep into every line of a piece of text. Instead, it can be more effective to first do a relatively quick read-through and then move directly to the questions to see what can be answered. Some will likely be answered just from the initial reading, and others should be answerable with a subsequent reread focused on those particular questions. This kind of multistage approach will likely save time and effort throughout the reading section.
There will not be multiple possible correct answers on the SAT. Rather, there is a single correct answer available and a few that are incorrect. This means that one of the best strategies that students can learn is how to eliminate the answers that are incorrect and choose only the correct answer.
How can this be done? Largely by paying attention to the questions and multiple choice answers. The creators of the SAT are very deliberate with their wording, so if something appears to be incorrect, it most likely is. Going through each option and eliminating the ones that seem incorrect should, with practice, allow you to pick out the one correct answer.
This strategy is deceptively simple, so it’s natural for young scholars to overthink it and have difficulty in properly eliminating incorrect answers. Getting lots of practice at home and in SAT prep programs can be key to mastering this skill over time.
A part of the reading portion of the SAT is dedicated to testing student understanding of moderately difficult vocabulary words, so it’s important that your child spend at least part of their study time improving their ability to recognize what particular words mean.
In part, this will mean finding time to do SAT vocabulary practice questions. The advantage of doing so in SAT classes is the opportunity for attention from expert instructors. They can help clarify troublesome definitions, point out any common problem areas a student is facing, and ensure they never feel lost or overwhelmed while getting ready for the SAT. This is the kind of opportunity that can make a world of difference in terms of maximizing the improvements made to a young scholar’s reading and vocabulary skills in time for the exam.
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