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How to Attack the SAT Critical Reading Section Effectively

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Replies to: How to Attack the SAT Critical Reading Section Effectively

  • afraidtoapplyafraidtoapply Registered User Posts: 390 Junior Member
    noita:
    How much did you get on your PSAT? How do you prepare for that? When?
    How do you prepare for the SAT II? How long before the test?
  • NoitaraperpNoitaraperp Registered User Posts: 608 Member
    orange peel, I really think you should persevere. It took me a while (but not too long) to see results. If you find the method totally grating to your style even after 4 or 5 tests, then you might want to reconsider. But that method really helps me keep on top of everything. And when you take the test, that's what you want - you really want to mentally buckle down and have control of everything (that's a true 800 mindset - don't let anything escape). Keep testing it out but use your personal judgment also as to whether it fits you.
    How much did you get on your PSAT? How do you prepare for that? When?
    How do you prepare for the SAT II? How long before the test?

    I didn't do as well on my PSAT (though enough for NM winner probably because of a solid app essay) because I was in the middle of my SAT self-studying process and was still gaining points. I took two practice tests one and two weeks before the test (one from the PR 11 tests book and one from the official one they give you in the packet). The PSAT is essentially a shortened version of the SAT without an essay, so you approach studying it in roughly the same way. SAT II's are completely different because they're curriculum-based, and times of preparation varied according to the test and corresponding classes. June Physics I started in February, following year June American History I started in March, and October Math Level 2 I started in August.
  • orange peelorange peel Registered User Posts: 647 Member
    ok. im lately finding when I review I just cant figure out WHY some answer choices are right and some are wrong (using real tests with no explanations). I spent half an hour + trying to figure out why this question was this particular answer. and i cant ask on forums because theyd have to read the whole passage
  • Smile614Smile614 Registered User Posts: 1,530 Senior Member
    ^Yeppp. I had that problem too. Not with a lot of them, but one question here and there and it really bugs me that I can't figure it out. Sooo I just end up accepting that it's right just because ...it's right haha.
  • NoitaraperpNoitaraperp Registered User Posts: 608 Member
    ^^Guys, never do that. Don't just accept it blindly just because the answer key says so. You HAVE to UNDERSTAND each question, otherwise you're not learning! There are many ways you can do this. Either ask someone who is good at the SAT, or buy a book.

    Test Masters Bookstore

    This book has all the solutions explained in the Blue Book tests. If you don't adequately review your answers, you won't make good progress.
  • orange peelorange peel Registered User Posts: 647 Member
    well if I use QnAs or online course, there are NO answer explanations. wat then? did you honestly understand every last detail when u reviewed noita?
  • orange peelorange peel Registered User Posts: 647 Member
    hey 1st off congrats. this thread has over 1,000 views. 2nd- wat scores, broken down, were u getting before u took it and got a 2400
  • jamesfordjamesford Registered User Posts: 3,447 Senior Member
    well if I use QnAs or online course, there are NO answer explanations. wat then?

    Then you force yourself to analyze the question until you get it. Or ask here.
  • GameaholicGameaholic Registered User Posts: 188 Junior Member
    Great strategy, but the problem is when i begin reading the passage till the part i marked the line citation, i ask myself "what the heck am i suppose to think about this underline phrase". Even if i have annotations saying SUGGEST or AUTHOR INFERS, i can't make anything out of the underlined citations UNTIL i read the question itself, and then i have to go back to the passage and read it in context which consequently wastes a lot of time for me. So i ended up reading a certain portion of the passage two-three times.

    I find it better off to just read the question, then i know what i am looking for and then read the passage in context. I was wondering if you encouter this difficulty in your method.
  • sporty04sporty04 Registered User Posts: 525 Member
    noita, before we go about starting the Critical Reading sections in the SAT review books, should we read A LOT of books, magazines, newspaper, etc. (and memorize vocab) for many months first?

    p.s. i'm going to be a junior in September
  • 112358112358 Registered User Posts: 1,944 Senior Member
    ok. im lately finding when I review I just cant figure out WHY some answer choices are right and some are wrong (using real tests with no explanations). I spent half an hour + trying to figure out why this question was this particular answer. and i cant ask on forums because theyd have to read the whole passage
    ^^Guys, never do that. Don't just accept it blindly just because the answer key says so. You HAVE to UNDERSTAND each question, otherwise you're not learning! There are many ways you can do this. Either ask someone who is good at the SAT, or buy a book.

    Test Masters Bookstore

    This book has all the solutions explained in the Blue Book tests. If you don't adequately review your answers, you won't make good progress.

    I'm actually going to disagree with this advice. I know spending half an hour analyzing a question to no avail may seem like a frustrating and wasteful use of your time, but I would wager you profited immensely from doing so even though you never came up with an answer. Going through that process forced you to think critically about the text, hunt for clues, read back over the text multiple times, and think about what the author was trying to say. If you had just opened up a book and found an answer, you would have understood that particular question, but you would have done nothing to enhance your critical reading abilities and teach yourself skills that can be applied to any question, not just that one. There were many, many questions I couldn't figure out as I reviewed tests, but just by struggling with the meaning of the passage and trying to understand it I improved much more than had I just relied on canned answers devised by someone else. If you want to look up an explanation after struggling with it on your own, fine -- but don't just give up and resort to someone else's explanation right away. You're going to have to figure it out on your own on the real test, so try to teach yourself to figure it out on your own on practice tests.

    Now, I'm sure Noitaraperp didn't mean to imply that you should just ditch your attempts to understand the questions on your own. But I just want to make clear the value of working them out by yourself, even if it doesn't seem to bear much fruit short-term.
  • MaoMao Registered User Posts: 233 Junior Member
    Noitaraperp, I want to thank you for writing the extremely helpful post! It was clearly lengthy and time-consuming, and that just makes me appreciate it even more!

    Since you have experience improving scores (as opposed to someone who started out at 2370 and got a 2400), I was wondering if you were planning on giving advice for the writing section (on another thread, of course). My weaknesses are definitely Critical Reading and Writing, and it would be amazing if you helped us out with that too! :)
  • quequequequequeque Registered User Posts: 65 Junior Member
    hello, thanks for the great tios you have provided us!

    Just a quick questions for clarification

    From step 6 ONCE you hit a marked section, slow down and absorb it. If you feel that it would not disrupt your flow to answer the corresponding question, do so. If not, keep going a little more. A vast majority of the line reference questions (even complex ones such as inferences) can be answered after reading from the beginning to the point of reference.

    So this basically means that I should be solving the problems as I go?
  • manu101manu101 Registered User Posts: 592 Member
    112358. I haven't purchased the Testmasters answers guide. I have the BB and am going to buy BB2 next week. So are you suggesting that I review and find explanations myself? And then post the questions I am really stuck on here? Would that be all right?
  • 112358112358 Registered User Posts: 1,944 Senior Member
    112358. I haven't purchased the Testmasters answers guide. I have the BB and am going to buy BB2 next week. So are you suggesting that I review and find explanations myself? And then post the questions I am really stuck on here? Would that be all right?

    I personally did not use an answer guide, but I don't think it's necessarily a bad idea as long as you don't rely on it too much. It's much easier to look up an answer than struggle through the process of figuring it out yourself, so you have to avoid the temptation and only resort to the guide after spending time working on it by yourself. Also, keep in mind that Testmasters may not explain the answers the same way CB would.

    But if you don't want to bother with an answer guide, by all means go for it.
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