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How to Improve SAT Critical Reading Section?

meadow36meadow36 Posts: 5,620Registered User Senior Member
edited September 2012 in SAT Preparation
For people who used to be bad at critical reading but now score in 700-800 range, how did you do it? Did you use any specific books or websites?
Or could you simply offer general strategies or tips that you find helpful when doing the CR portion. Thanks for any help you may provide :)
Post edited by meadow36 on
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Replies to: How to Improve SAT Critical Reading Section?

  • meadow36meadow36 Posts: 5,620Registered User Senior Member
    come on, someone here must be good at CR!
  • liebenasukaliebenasuka Posts: 298Registered User Junior Member
    As far as I know, people who are good at CR start at at least 700-800 range. I don't know anyone who started off with a 600 and made big improvements.
  • meadow36meadow36 Posts: 5,620Registered User Senior Member
    wow, so is their no hope for us who suck at CR??
  • liebenasukaliebenasuka Posts: 298Registered User Junior Member
    idk, I'm an alien. I didn't grow up with english around me. I just picked it up a few years ago and now I can only score around 600. It might be easier for people who actually grew up in an english enviroment, but I'm not sure.
  • adamonkey2adamonkey2 Posts: 398Registered User Member
    yeah i used to score around 500-600 , now i can score 680+. basically i read 40 books last year (novels). that's all i did. before i read around 1 book per year (yeah, i think that's why...).

    actually i also memorized some vocabulary, but that was because it was required for my english class.
  • StrangeIndianFooStrangeIndianFoo Posts: 461- Member
    meadow36, do not be fazed by this haphazard comment- it is completely untrue.

    I started out getting 520s on CR...but I started reading (i love to read) books- not just any book that you can read, but really hard books to read.
    The more I read, the more my reading comprehension grew, and I became used to reading higher level writing-This kind of skill is paramount in defeating the minatory CR passages the SAT throws at you.

    So my suggestions are: Buy Barron's/Gruber's and the blue CB book

    Read higher level material: Newspapers, magazines, books

    Suggestions for higher level reading: anything by Ernest Hemingway, Consider the Lobster and other Essays by David Foster Wallace, A Temple of Texts by W.H. Gass

    Read those and you'll IMPROVE by a whole lot

    i started out at 520 and improved to 720 (i got a 76 on my soph PSAT CR)

    So while you read, be practicing CB and Barron's CR tests- you'll do great!


    hope I helped =)
  • StrangeIndianFooStrangeIndianFoo Posts: 461- Member
    Another tip:

    go to Dictionary and Thesaurus - Merriam-Webster Online and sign up for the Word of The Day

    every day you'll get a vocab word e-mailed to you! It's actually very nice, your vocab will grow faster than you expect

    also, go to Dictionary.com

    and sign up for the Word of The Day

    also, try to learn 5 NEW WORDS a day, that's it, in addition to your WOTDS
  • limetimelimetime Posts: 743Registered User Member
    I went from a 640 in the practice tests to a 780 on the real thing. All in less than one year.
    If you're not a junior yet, I'd recommend taking AP English Language, but if you are going into senior year, here are some other tips.

    Read. Read. Read. Lots. And not Harry Potter, but hard essays and newspapers. I recommend borrowing "The Best American Essays of the Century" edited by Joyce Carol Oates from your public library. When you read, ALWAYS try to figure out what the author's purpose is, and the tone of the passage. If you read hard essays and newspapers, your vocab will improve without any conscious effort because you'll pick them up as you go.

    And of course, do a lot of practice questions. It's best to get used to what types of questions they'll throw at you. Also, on the long-passage readings, never try to read the whole thing. Read the questions first, go to the line numbers referenced, and read around the line numbers to get just enough to answer the questions. If you try to read the whole passage, read the questions, and read the passage again to answer the questions, you'll run out of time.

    Hope that helps. :)
  • Anonymous91Anonymous91 Posts: 1,008Registered User Member
    Well, to be honest, I don't think there is any "one size" fits all strategy for CR. I got a 79 on Cr psat and score similarly on SAT's, and I do not use any "tricks," except for perhaps reading the passage, and making sure i understand what i am reading before i move on. Although it is possible to eliminate many answer choices just by looking at them, i believe that should be a last resort. Once you practice enough, you will be able to predict key sentences in the passage which will be tested in the questions, make sure to pay special attention to these key phrases and quotes.
  • kboatengkboateng Posts: 104Registered User Junior Member
    Does anyone else have any other strategy?
  • NoitaraperpNoitaraperp Posts: 576Registered User Member
  • sporty04sporty04 Posts: 525Registered User Member
    StrangeIndianFoo, how long did it take you to improve from 520 to 720?
  • JAJdudeJAJdude Posts: 226Registered User Junior Member
    I had a 730 in CR and all I did was read. I didn't read anything earth-shattering or god-like(just a lot of Star War and College admissions books :p). I also made note of vocab that I didn't know as well.

    However, this could also be because I absolutely love reading books, ever since I was a little child)..
  • sporty04sporty04 Posts: 525Registered User Member
    Are there any college admission books that you think really helped you on the SAT?

    b/c the problem is that i've always loved reading books and still do, but I can't seem to go up from a 630 Critical Reading score....i don't know what i'm doing wrong.... :(
  • sporty04sporty04 Posts: 525Registered User Member
    and the 630 is without the time limit of 25 min, 25min, and 20min, so....I think my score would be lower if I took the test timed...
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