Helpful Hints for the Reading Section of the SAT

By Geraldine Woods, Ron Woldoff

Part of SAT For Dummies Cheat Sheet

No matter how fast you read, time is always an issue when you take a standardized test, and the redesigned SAT is no exception. You don’t have to be a speed-reader, but you do have to work efficiently. Here are some tips for gaining the maximum number of points on the Reading section of the new SAT:

  • Skim the introductory material. You may find information that helps you answer the questions.

  • Look at the question stems. Don’t bother reading the answer choices at first. Determine what the question is asking.

  • Put a circle around any evidence question. When you answer the question before, underline the evidence. If you do so, you already have the answer to the evidence question!

  • Check the graphic element, if one is present. Note the title, caption, and any labels.

  • Read the passage, jotting notes in the margin and underlining key points.

  • In a paired-passage set, read one passage and answer the questions. Then hit the second passage. Last, answer the questions that refer to both passages.