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How to do well on Critical Reading? (aka the hardest section)

yankeedoodleyankeedoodle Registered User Posts: 385 Member
I'm pretty good at writing. Though my timed essays aren't of the best quality I do well on the multiple choice section.

My math section is OK but needs improvement. Fortunately I believe I can achieve a better score if I just practice the sections more and review formulas.

But how the heck do you do improve on Critical Reading? I ofter obtain a score in the 600's range, which is really bad considering I want to earn a score of at least 2200 on the SAT. I am completely oblivious as to how I can suddenly start understanding what the author is trying to convey through his or her writing. I think I'm decent in regards to vocab so that isn't my primary concern. How do I improve?

Thank you!
Post edited by yankeedoodle on

Replies to: How to do well on Critical Reading? (aka the hardest section)

  • basketballbabe13basketballbabe13 Registered User Posts: 1,058 Senior Member
    i got a 2200 with a 680
    i improved from a 630 which isnt a bad improvement
    i used barrons critical reading and sat 2400
    also, i read a LOT and that improved my speed
  • andrew78191andrew78191 Registered User Posts: 76 Junior Member
    surprisingly, listening to music helps a lot. I listen to a lot of hip hop and the artists use a lot of vocab, metaphors, allusions, similies, etc.. after all hip hop is poetry. I also freestyle sometimes, this encourages me to learn a lot of new words since the greater vocab i have, the better freestyles i can spit. I ended up getting a 750 on my CR section (the 2nd time, the first time i got a 680). But when i say hip hop, i mean the good stuff like nas' Illmatic, Eric b and Rakim's Paid in Full, Mos Def and Talib Kweli's Black Star, Biggie Ready to Die, etc.., not the crap that litters the radio stations.
  • Locke19Locke19 Registered User Posts: 506 Member
    Try reading some of the classics (Huck Finn, for example) and going over them with an english teacher. They are there to help you get better at English and part of that is literary anaylsis. You need to be able to spot symbols and interpret what they mean, understand how dialogue or narrative styles can convey theme, and just how to get the chief feeling the author is trying to portray. If the characters are really selfish, that is probably some kind of social commentary. If a character is trying to get home, it's probably a message about the importance of family. That's really the kind of stuff you need to look for.
  • random747random747 Registered User Posts: 71 Junior Member
    I know people who did no prep at all but simply loved reading and did great on the CR. If you're not one of those people, then I recommend doing practice passages to help figure out the best method of approaching the questions. I chose the strategy of using the line references to read a specific part and then answer the question related to that part. I got a 750. Your strategy might be different. Make sure to spend time figuring that out. The single most important thing you must do is learn what a "correct answer" is. I suggest doing practice sections and talking over with yourself exactly why you chose a certain answer. After checking your answers, I'm sure that you will look at the answer explanations for the questions you got wrong. However, don't make the mistake of not checking the explanations for the questions you got right! I think the biggest reason people don't improve is because they assume that "oh, since I got it right, my reasoning must have been right". This is not always the case. Do this, and I can guarantee that you will increase your score.
  • voilaJvoilaJ Registered User Posts: 105 Junior Member
    Critical reading is logic as much as math is. There are basic rules that govern the pieces to an extent, and from there on, it's reasoning. Just practice formally, (I like like Princeton Review books) and read everything you can, even if it's just silly teen novels. Try to anticipate what the characters are going to do and why.

    This is coming from someone who got an 800 with very little prep. Good luck!
This discussion has been closed.