SAT Reading Practice Problem—Main Theme of a Passage

By Ron Woldoff

The SAT Reading Comprehension exam contains several passages that you will have to read. In some cases, you will have to determine the main or general theme that the writer is trying to convey.

After you read the following passage, the practice questions will ask you to identify the main theme, and also point out which sentence best expresses this idea.

Reading Passage

Questions 1 and 2 are based on the following information. Read the passage and answer each question based on information stated or implied in the passage.

The following passage is an excerpt from Introverts For Dummies, by Joan Pastor, PhD (Wiley).

Fifty percent of gifted kids are introverts. And three-quarters of “supergifted” kids — children with IQs above 160 — are innies.

(1) You’d think these brilliant kids would flourish in school, but frequently, they don’t. Instead, they may spend hours bored to tears as their teachers go over material they already know. They may also get into trouble for ignoring classroom assignments and pursuing their own interests instead. Worse yet, these children’s remarkable talents often go undeveloped.

That’s why smart parents often seek better options for them. If you think your introverted child is gifted, ask for a professional evaluation by a psychologist. If testing confirms your opinion, ask your school what services it offers for gifted children. (2) Some schools have excellent programs for very bright children, while others fall far short.

If your child’s current school can’t fully meet her needs, explore other options. (3) Some communities have magnet schools specifically designed for gifted children. Your child may also enjoy a math, science, or arts camp during the summer. And museums, nature centers, and recreation centers frequently offer programs that will excite your innie.

Additionally, consider supplementing your child’s education with online courses on her favorite topics. Often, these courses allow students to learn at their own pace, so instead of twiddling her thumbs while she waits for her classmates to catch up, your child can go full steam ahead. The Khan Academy ( and other free online educational sites can also be great resources.

If your child is far more advanced than other kids her age, (4) her school may suggest moving her up an extra grade. But be aware that gifted innies who are way ahead of the pack intellectually may still need to be around same-age peers to learn social skills. So if this option comes up, consider your child’s overall social and intellectual development and ask yourself if she’s truly ready to study — and play — with older children.

Another issue to keep in mind is that the higher a child’s IQ is, the greater the chances are that the child will also have a learning disability. If your child is gifted but still struggles in some areas, make sure you explore this possibility.

Practice questions

  1. The main theme that Pastor describes in the passage is that gifted, introverted children
    A. could excel in the academic setting provided by almost any school
    B. should avoid online distractions from true academic discourse
    C. could benefit from advancing an extra grade to be with peers at their intellectual level
    D. could perform extremely well in the right academic setting
  2. Which choice provides the best evidence for the answer to the preceding question?
    A. Sentence 1 (“You’d think . . . they don’t.”)
    B. Sentence 2 (“Some schools . . . fall far short.”)
    C. Sentence 3 (“Some communities . . . children.”)
    D. Sentence 4 (“her school . . . grade.”)

Answers and explanations

  1. The correct answer is Choice (D).
    The passage recommends seeking schools that have programs for gifted children. Choice (A) is wrong because some schools fall short. Choice (B) is wrong because the passage recommends Khan Academy. Choice (C) is wrong because the passage recommends children stay with their own age group and avoid advancing a grade unless they’re emotionally ready.
  2. The correct answer is Choice (C).
    You’re looking for a sentence that supports the idea that gifted children could perform extremely well in the right academic setting. The correct answer tells you that some schools are specifically designed for gifted children.