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The Most Important SAT Critical Reading Tip

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❶For now, just focus on what you can understand.

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Ongoing Assessment Measures ability to comprehend informational text. I get and sometimes even less. Please suggest me how should I work on it to get better on my CR portion. Have you signed up for my email list and gotten those CR videos?

If you have, they explain the most important concepts and techniques that can help you raise your CR score fast. I explain it in my comments to Tanpong, a few comments below yours. Have you identified why your scores fluctuate? Then do your best to make sure your conditions are always like they are when you get the higher scores.

If your scores are generally in the low s, then you are making more mistakes than just those few questions that are about tone words. For those that are about tone, here are some suggestions:.

If the question asks you to compare the tone of passage 1 to the tone of passage 2, draw that line for both passages. Or you could just ask yourself, does the author feel good or likes it , bad or dislikes it , or neutral.

Use the same technique, but ask yourself whether to author cares a lot, or not so much. Here is the process for working on your time management. This will solve most of your time management issues and significantly raise your score. Hi, I know this is not really the perfect place to ask a question like the one I am about to, but you can probably still help, I am someone with an SAT score of , and I HAVE to score much more than that, if I want to go to my dream college…How do I balance between school and SAT, considering the fact that I have to score well in both, thank you in advance!

When the colleges look at your application, they give approximately equal weight to your grades and your SAT score. I think you should read it because it might help you stay strong about this very important issue: Great job so far. Do you sometimes eliminate 3 answer choices and then pick the wrong answer from the remaining 2 choices? In most cases, ask yourself which of the remaining choices is closest to the main idea of the passage; that one is most likely to be right.

Do you have trouble with certain types of questions? If not, write to me again and tell me what types of questions you need help with. Do you have trouble finishing the section in time and get the last couple of questions right after time expires?

Recognize them and skip out of them early, saving the time for those last questions. Do you have trouble with the sentence completions? Read my sentence completion posts: You might not be able to do much about that with only 1 week to go before the test. However, if you put your mind to studying vocab, you just might get an extra question or 2 right, which will help you towards your goal. Getting around when English is more like your second language is a really good job.

I hope you can. Feel free to write back with specifics things that I might be able to help you with. Keep getting and could use a boost to around I suppose I might have to revise this post to make that clear. Skimming is death, meaning that it will kill your chances of getting a higher score. You have to read the passage. In most cases, the correct answer is more aligned with the main idea of the passage. It must be really hard.

It might be helpful to look at what your score means in terms of how many questions you correctly answered on the test. When they figure out your score on the — scale, the first thing they do is calculate your raw score. To get that, they give you 1 point for every question that you answer correctly, and subtract.

A CR score in the — range is a raw score of approximately 12 — 19, depending on the test. A CR score in the — range is a raw score of approximately 30 — The best way to do it is to find the questions that are easier for you to answer, and that you can answer more quickly, and skip the harder ones. Keep reading English and getting better at that, keep focused on the lesson that I teach in this post, keep learning English vocabulary, and give it your best shot.

I stumbled upon this blog and I think this is a truly great advice! Finding main idea is the best strategy out there for the critical reading. What I do is I read one paragraph and then go to the questions to look for any questions related to that paragraph. Then I continue reading the rest of the paragraphs and going back to the questions.

I find that it helps a lot. Hi Kate, Doing it that way can help some people. First of all, my first language is not English. In order to get into the university in my country i need to get CR and Writing.

Is there any advice for me on how to get the required score? I am taking the Sat in October. Have you taken practice tests? What scores have you been getting on them? If you can answer these questions I might be able to give you more specific help.

Otherwise, keep reading this post until you really understand it, and sign up for my email list and follow along with the videos and tutorials that I send you in email.

Are you using official College Board material? Can you give me some examples of these types of questions? Thank you ever so much for this illuminating guide!

I was tested by the critical reading section for years, as I took three PSATs since freshman year, and I never quite understood what the College Board expects from students. I always have assumed that we are supposed to analyze — instead, the solution is as simple as finding the main idea.

My only regret is that I stumbled upon your tips sooner. The instant I followed your advice, I automatically received a for CR, which I never dreamed could be possible. Hi, when you say read the passage before answering the questions, do you mean read the whole passage? Read the whole passage first.

Almost everyone will do better this way. If this is you, you might do better searching for those questions that you think might be easier for you and then reading what you need to answer them. Read this blog post again and again until you really get it, then practice this method on other passages.

You want to cross out the answer choices that are clearly wrong and then ask yourself which answer of the remaining 2 or 3 choices is better? There will always be a reason why one is better or that one is worse. Also, honestly decide whether you need to work on your English vocabulary and if you do then get some flashcards and learn 25 new words each week.

They have answer explanations that might help you. My goal is to range from at least on CR. Though, i have a hard time understanding the material. What can i do to improve? How can i improve?

What do you advise me to do? However, if you can get the basic idea of what the author is trying to say, then you can do fairly decently. For now, just focus on what you can understand. See if you can summarize each paragraph in one sentence. That should help you a lot, so after 1 to 2 months of this, see if you can score above On the other hand, my math scores are consistently , and my writing scores are around I realize that reading from a young age makes a tremendous difference to the CR section, as interpreting what the author says, and understanding the underlying meaning is easier if you read a lot.

Can you please assist me in achieving my goal? I particularly wanted your advice on things I should do apart from just solving CR sections. Thank you for your time Jeff. Aced at Math, Science, etc. But the SAT is an impediment in my path to a good college, so I really need to prove myself here. It sounds like the most important thing you can do is start reading nonfiction.

Read a few of those books. Then go back to doing CR sections from official College Board material. Tips—and is that possible within months? I find that I usually struggle with passage questions involving tone and fail sentence completion miss usually 1 or 2 per section thanks to my lack of vocabulary knowledge.

Nice job so far. I hope you feel good about your current CR score level, even though you want to raise it even higher. It is possible to reach your goal by October, though it will take some work on your part.

To get a — , you can only get 3 or 4 questions wrong, or leave 5 blank, something like that. Also, some of the tone questions test your understanding of vocabulary as much as your understanding of tone, because some of the answer choices are often difficult vocabulary words.

I often say in these comments that you have to practice with official College Board material. Hey, very nice tips here. I just have a quick question. I believe it is a comprehension problem. Read as much as you can and study vocabulary.

I am a Zimbabwean student who took his SATs last month. I scored a in the Critical Reading section and I am looking to increase it to a at the very least. Prior to taking the SAT my general score range would fluctuate between and , sadly though I scored the very minimum.

How best can I curb these fluctuations? I have two months before I retake the SAT and I would really like to attain this score as it is of paramount significance in my getting a scholarship to study in the US.

Let me suggest a different question. Ask yourself, how can I score as high as possible on the CR section. First of all, make sure you only practice with official college board material. Second, after you take the test and check your answers, do your best to make sure you know why you know why your answer is wrong and why the right answer is right.

Third, the conditions in which you take the test can have a big impact on your score. When you take a practice test and score particularly well or particularly poorly, note the conditions. If you scored well, try to replicate them the next time you take a practice test. Thanks for these advices. What do you think? Can I improve my score at least by in 3 months?

There are 48 reading passage questions and 19 sentence completion questions, so you should spend more time on the reading passages. However, you should also learn more vocabulary, at least 25 new words per week.

I got 0n the critical reading section but my preferred score would be at Least I get scared and easily bored during the passage based part of the CR. Do you have any advice on how I can get an higher score or on how I can increase my confidence level because I feel smaller and more intimidated by that section.

It just seems heavy and incomprehensible to me. How can I increase my confidence level so I can attack these questions correctly?

Thank you and I hope to get a reply soon! Your comment and questions are good. You have to handle the bored part yourself.

You want to get at least a in order to give yourself the best chance you can to get accepted into the colleges you want to attend. Use that as motivation to keep yourself interested and keep your mind from wandering when you read the passages. Does that make sense? First of all, reread this blog post and try to internalize the key concept; knowing the main idea of the passage is the key to answering most of the questions correctly.

Also, sign up for my email list. And here are a couple additional videos about the critical reading section that I recently put on youtube:. See if you can set that as your first goal. Hi, i got on my critical reading, which i know is very bad. The best use you can make of the time they give you for each section is to figure out which questions you can answer. Leave the rest of the questions blank. That takes a lot more work, especially if you hate doing it.

I just wanted to say thank you for taking the time to type up the tips and to link the passages to follow along. Actually, following the passage with you, I ended up getting every question right…I was kind of amazed haha. It really makes sense to go ahead and skip questions that cause time to linger because then the stress on time about completing proceeding questions causes an unclear mind and inability to analyze as efficiently as just skipping more difficult questions and moving along to the questions with better honed skills.

Thank you very much once again! I look forward to delving more into your tips! I appreciate your suggestions. I had a question regarding the three reading sections. I would describe myself as a slow thinker and analyzer, not necessarily a slow reader.

Unfortunately this strategy is not quite helping me get more answers correct although I do answer more questions. For the section of 2 short passages and 2 long passages of the SAT, would you recommend me using the princes ton strategy or reading at my own pace answering less but getting a higher percent correct. I get similar scores on my practice tests Read the passage first, then answer the questions. If it was a fill in the blank test, then there could be many different ways to write a correct answer for many of the questions.

However, one of the answer choices is always better than the others. And here are a couple additional videos about the critical reading section that I just put up today:. On May I had a score, in both maths and critical reading and in the writing section. Are there any tips you can give me? Is my score way too low? Thank you SO much! First of all, sorry about not being able to respond before you took the test.

You can probably get an idea by looking at their website. Have you signed up for my email list? I am getting a score around in all the practice tests for both writing and critical reading. How can I improve? A is a fairly decent score so general advice might not help. They have a book and an online course, and you can find more by searching on scribd.

For Critical Reading, look at these areas: If you are maybe you should work on your vocabulary. Get in the habit of skipping these questions as soon as you recognize them. You can go back to them if you have time at the end of the section. For the Writing section the multiple choice part: If you are, stop. Learn to identify the grammar rules that are consistently tested and focus on those. A is a pretty low score. It reflects a raw score of about 8 or 9, which mean that you only answered about 3 questions correctly on each reading section or you answered a few more correctly but a large number incorrectly.

So there are 2 major areas for improvement. That will help you the most long term, but not for taking the test on Saturday. The second area for improvement is better management of his time and better decision making about which questions to answer. To get that score, you has to answer 7 or 8 questions correctly in each of the 3 sections assuming you gets none wrong. Try to identify those questions and to be able to answer them in the time allowed for each section.

They have a book and an online course that you can purchase. You can also find many additional practice tests on scribd. I have trouble of time management in my critical reading section and also my score in this section is very low, what can I do to improve because am soon doing the June test. Time management in the critical reading section can really be a challenge.

There are a couple of things you can do. Make sure you have time to answer all of the questions that you can answer correctly.

If you have time left, then you can go back and try the ones you skipped. Most importantly, re-read this blog post until you really get it, and keep practicing this method.

Also read the posts about the sentence completion questions too. Understanding and applying these concepts is the biggest thing you can do to improve your score over the next two weeks. Hello…great information my test is in two weeks time but my CR is not improving. Its difficult for me to choose between two answers and the double passages is also not good , i run out of time and the questions about what can be inferred and those between the two passages are a challenge.

What can i do? In the double passages, all of the questions that compare the two passages relate to the main idea of the passages.

There are a few things you can do to help with managing your time. The most important thing you can do to help you with time management is to recognize the questions that take you longer to answer, and are harder for you, and to quickly skip those questions.

If you have extra time after doing that, then you can go back and try those other questions that you skipped. The second most important thing you can to to help with managing your time is to focus on the main idea of the passage, rather than getting bogged down in details when you read. This helps with time management because it should help you read faster while still allowing you to get the most important information from the passage. How can I improve it?

Do you implication or inference questions? The only question like that is question 14 in section 7. Download the test from the link and follow along. First find the complete sentence that contains those lines in the passage:. We can infer that Bond thinks the commemorations should focus on the complete MLK, the one who did all of those other things listed in the sentence the opposite of what he says is happening now.

They have nothing to do with that sentence. That means we have to look at the rest of the paragraph to clear this up. Now, for the questions that ask about the meaning of the words, they are almost always asking about the meaning of that word in the context of the passage. You should read the sentence containing the word and substitute the answer choices until you find the one that works best. Let know if this helps, and feel free to write back to me directly at jeff satsuccesssecrets.

Hi, This is a great post on the Critical Reading Jeff. Is there any other recommendations that you could provide? I did a lot of practices but it had not gone well. I just made a new video showing how to do this. Greetings, I hope you are doing well. I have made my SAT more than a couple of times and in each time I get the same critical reading mark. I am clueless about why do I keep taking the same mark, and how can I improve it.

Hi Leena, Are you able to apply the method I talk about in this post, and the sentence completion method that I talk about in those posts? But if you think it might be true, then you should back off the SAT for six months and just focus on reading English and learning vocabulary. Then try it again. The problem is with my CR, I score round I read your tips but I need personal response from you to improve my accuracy.

Kindly reply soon, I have my SAT next week. As you can imagine, I was super busy that week. I hope it went well for you. For the sentence completions, read my posts on them: If you use the process of elimination to get down to 2 answer choices, and almost always choose the wrong one, then you might be second guessing yourself.

For the very, very few people who go with your gut and still almost always pick the wrong one, do a couple of practice sections picking against your gut and see if that gives you better results. Hey Jeff, I need some serious help if you can offer it. It seems that whenever I try to read them, I read words without understanding truly what they mean, and just simply end up gaining nothing from that paragraph. Also, sometimes I just start going through the texts, trying my best to focus as much as I can, which I guess stresses me out too much, and causes me to fail to grasp necessary ideas and details.

Can you help me please? You do have to understand the point the author is trying to make. This changes what you focus on, so it might help you focus better. This can lower the stress and improve your understanding, which will then lower the stress, and so on. I hope this helps. Write back if you have more questions, and also later on to let me know how it goes. Hy Jef I am good at math and writing,so i have a more hope to get the score avove each.. But when it comes to Critical reading section I loses my tranquility…Till now i must had tried nearly about mock test.

Finally i realized CR is the toughest one.. How will u recomend me at this contexT? Hi Nikesh, Read this post over and over until you really get how knowing the main idea leads you to the correct answer to most of the questions.

Then read my replies to some of the other comments for advice about guessing, time management, what material you should practice with, etc. Also check out my posts about the sentence completions. Lastly, check out my answer to Deux Leux about pressure and fear. It might help you a little bit with keeping your tranquility. Hi Jeff, I took the sat on the 6th of December I had in CR in math and in writing.

I panicked from the day before till the time I got to the exam center. I was able to complete the grid-in part. My main problem is fear. You could really think of it as two different types of fear. We could say that this is fear that comes from a lack of confidence. The other kind of fear is the kind that comes from feeling a lot of pressure. Those consequences could be external, like not being able to go to university you really want to go to, or internal, like feeling a great deal of shame because you failed.

This kind of fear is harder to deal with. There are several things I do that help me. First, I try to lower the stakes. It almost never matters as much as you think it matters, especially in the long run. These issues deserve their own blog. I am having trouble staying focused while reading long passages. Any suggestions on how to stay on track while I am reading or study tips to improve my score?

Most of us have more control over our ability to focus than we sometimes thing. However, we often have to practice in order to strengthen our ability. Just try to think about what the author is saying in each paragraph as you read. In the beginning, you should even practice writing down a one sentence summary of each paragraph, and then a couple of sentences for the main idea when you get to the end of the passage.

I hope this helps! I hate to say it, but the only way to increase your vocabulary in a short period of time is to use flashcards. You should probably try Sparknotes first. Actually i am planing to write my sat exam in few day and i am somewhat bad in critical reading.

I can score good in maths and writing. But when it comes to reading i score very less can u please help me with the critical part. Hi Zeba, This post has the best help I can give you, especially in a short period of time. Also check out the posts about the sentence completion questions. Good luck on Saturday! This post has all of the best tips and techniques for making the most of what you do understand. After that, you have to focus on getting better at reading English.

I just got a bad mark in this last trial October 11 I just got disappointed. If you mean advice for the CR section, read this post over and over until you really get how knowing the main idea leads you to the correct answer to most of the questions. Hi Im facing alot of problem in time management. Every time i give a mock atleast 1 section always gets left out.

Also my CR section is really bad, i am just not able to read the passages….. Hey Avik, For time management tips, look at my reply to the previous comment.

I go into it in depth there. Pretend to be interested it them if you have to. Just keep practicing at paying attention and keeping your focus on the passage. My score never exceeds I also have trouble completing within the time limit.

Could you share some tips with me on how to finish within the time limit, and how to tackle the dual passage questions? Thank you so much! So take a look at that. The dual passages rely on knowing the main idea of each passage even more than the single passages do, because all of the questions that compare the passages rely on the main idea.

Then try some double passages again. Remember to read the part in italics at the beginning, and then the first passage, and answer the questions that are only about the first passage. Then read the second passage and answer the rest of the questions: That might clear things up for you.

In between school days, we gathered hazelnuts, fished, had long deer-hunting weekends, went to powwows, beaded on looms, and made quilts. Jubilation means great happiness or joy. Appreciation is a better answer. You should draw a line.

My main problem is that i get stuck between two options and just cant pick the correct one. There is no general rule for vocabulary in context questions; you just have to see which answer choice works best in the sentence. Hi Jeff, that was indeed a helpful post. I applied your method last time I took a practice SAT and found it much easier to answer the questions as I had an understanding of what the passage was all about.

But I want to jump a bit to s. Also, I have little trouble with dual passages. So, what would you suggest? If you need more, go to scribd. Use the time on the passages. I have had very little time to prepare previously. Do you have any last moment tips that would make a huge difference to my score?

Hi Nakul, These are the bet tips. Study this blog post, and practice as much as you can in the remaining time you have before the test. Then plan to take it again and give yourself more time to prepare for it. I score around s in my writing, and s in math.

In CR, I find that almost always I struggle with the questions that ask us what the specific word means in the passage. My vocabulary is strong, but sometimes its really difficult to infer what it would mean. In a particular passage for example: I selected the option: Do you see what I mean? Often, author 1 has no specific stance, which makes things confusing. Is there anything I can do in such short a time? Hey AIR, The first thought that comes to mind is whether the practice tests that you mention are from the College Board or from some other company like Kaplan, Princeton Review, etc.

By the way, the quickest source for official College Board material is scribd. How long should I spend on each question so that I am able to make it through the whole section? Also, what is your opinion on skipping questions? Is it worth guessing or dismissing it all together and moving on. Thank you for your time! Hi Olivia, These are great questions; time management is an important part of getting the best score you possibly can.

I am having great difficulty in understanding the long as well as short comprehension passages. Almost all of my answers are wrong in the RC part. It weighs down to the score to a low of


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