800 in SAT Reading sounds like too much? It is not. Ask any SAT expert and they will tell you that it’s doable with the right strategy and loads of hard work. If you manage to get these numbers in the reading and writing section you can dream of 1500+ in your SAT, a score range that is accepted by almost all the top colleges in the country.
So, how can you score high in the SAT Reading section? We asked our tutors and here’s what they said. Let’s start with the standard advice, that you will get from everyone and even our tutors agree with them. And then we will proceed to some key strategies (advice from our tutors) that are not commonly talked about.
Key Strategies for SAT Reading Section that can get you a High Score
Read Less, Understand More
SAT is a 65-minute test with 5 passages and 52 multiple-choice questions. This leaves you with 13 minutes for every passage and around 75 seconds for every question. This is very little time to read and re-read and understand the content in one go. The key is to develop the skimming and comprehension skills that can help you identify the important parts of a passage and understand it properly.
One method is to read the para thoroughly, mark everything you deem important and then approach the questions. Another good method is to skim through the paragraph, check the questions, and revisit the paragraph to find the answers.
Easy First, Tricky Later
Always start with the passages that you are sure of and use the same strategy for questions. This approach saves you both time and confidence. When you face a difficult passage or question, mark it and revisit it later. If you spend too much time on a difficult passage, you may run out of time even for the easy ones.
Eliminate the Wrong Options
When you are not sure of the right answer, eliminate the 3 wrong answers. It also helps to have an answer in your mind after you read the passage. Compare it with the answer options and then make a pick.
Take a Guess
If you have no idea how to answer a question, do not skip it. You should guess because SAT does not have a penalty for wrong answers. Make a calculated guess right when you are on the question. Do not leave it for later when you do not have time to think and your chances of making a wrong guess are higher.
Important SAT Reading Strategies that Nobody Talks About
Here are some important points that are often missed in discussions because they are not exactly strategies. Strategies or not, as you read these, you will realize that all of them are vital for getting the perfect score in the SAT reading section.
Types of Questions
Following are the different types of questions that you will encounter in SAT reading. Each type has a different aim and therefore, you have to approach them differently. With SAT Practice Tests, you will be able to build your reflexes for every type, and on exam day, all your hard work will help you quickly find the answer.
It is important to develop a strategy for every type of question otherwise you might easily get confused with the answer options and make a mistake.
- Main Idea or Big Picture Questions – Ask yourself about the topic, and the purpose of the overall content.
- Specific Detail Questions – Refer to a particular word/ phrase or a line in the passage.
- Inference questions – Make you interpret the meaning of a line/ paragraph or the whole passage.
- Effect of a Detail Questions – Ask you about how a phrase or a sentence works in the passage. In other words, the answer should show the effect of specific detail in the passage.
- Perspective Questions – These questions focus on techniques such as tone, perspective, attitude, voice, or style of the author.
- Vocabulary Questions – Ask you the meaning of a word usually used in a unique way.
- Data Interpretation Questions – Are based on interpreting the data from graphs or charts.
- Evidence Questions – Ask for evidence of the answer you have given.
Start your Prep Early On
It is common to assume that you can prep and crack SAT in just 3 months. This is a wrong notion because all it does is increase your stress levels and there is no guarantee you will get your target score. At eTutorWorld, we believe that you should start preparing for SAT in your Freshman or Sophomore year.
To perform well in the English reading section, you must develop good reading habits and have tremendous comprehension. And you cannot develop these skills in a short period. Spread out your preparation and give yourself an ample amount of time to ace the SAT. Polish your skills over the years and be consistent in your efforts.
Approach Every Paragraph with Confidence
Confidence is key to success in the SAT reading section and it comes only with practice. You must prepare hard for the exam and on D-day, approach every paragraph with confidence. Know in your mind that you know how to handle every type of passage and you have prepped hard for this day. Confidence in yourself will help you approach the questions from a different, positive perspective and you are sure to perform better.
Get Professional Help
SAT prep requires guidance from a professional. This test gets easy to crack when you are good at strategies and have several tips and tricks up your sleeve. And both the strategies and tricks part can come only from professionals who have several years of experience with SAT exams and understand the exam pattern.
So, even if you think you can tackle SAT on your own, try SAT prep help once. You will be surprised at the knowledge you incur and the speed of your progress.
If you dream of getting the perfect score of 800 in SAT reading, you must approach SAT prep with discipline. Other than following the above-listed points, you need to make a strict schedule that balances your school lessons along with the SAT prep. And of course, you need to put in a lot of hard work over the years to achieve your dream.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How many passages are in the SAT Reading section?
The SAT Reading section consists of five passages, each followed by a set of questions.
Can I go back to a previous passage during the test?
Yes, you can always go back and review previous passages within the time allotted for the Reading section. However, it’s generally recommended to answer the questions in the order they are presented to save time.
Can I bring a dictionary or other reference materials?
No, you’re not allowed to bring any external resources, including dictionaries or reference materials, to the SAT Reading section. You must rely solely on the information provided in the passages.
Can I skip passages that seem difficult?
Yes, you can skip passages that you find particularly challenging and come back to them later. It’s important to manage your time wisely and focus on the passages that you can answer more confidently first.
Is there a penalty for guessing?
No, there is no penalty for guessing on the SAT.