Anyone Here Get 800 Critical Reading or Close?

<p>My critical reading score is the only problem. I've taken the SAT twice and scored a 660 on critical reading both times, whereas my most recent math and writing SAT scores were 800 and 770 respectively. How can I get my critical reading to at the very least a 700, but hopefully 750? 800 or above 750 would be a miracle. What I've done is probably every single critical reading passage from the old and new College Board books. I've even done some of those passages more than once. I read the New York Times for about 10-15 minutes every morning (on the way to school). I don't read books much though since I don't have time with school. My vocabulary isn't really the problem. I got only 2 vocab questions wrong (on my first SAT, don't have score analysis for the second one yet). The passages are the main problem.</p>

<p>Some suggest to read the questions first- then read the paragraph to look for the info and go back to the questions.</p>

<p>I scored an 800 =] It comes sort of naturally to me (years of being a book nerd pays off), but the one real piece of advice I can offer is to get inside the heads of the testmakers. Think about it: 4 of the 5 answers have to be wrong, and not just any kind of wrong - DEAD wrong, otherwise the CB would have to deal with a thousand lawsuits from rabid parents. So for each narrowed-down answer, ask yourself: why is this one WRONG? Hunt the passage and look for clues - a turn of phrase there, a deceiving adjective there.</p>

<p>Also, I never really used this piece of advice but it felt reassuring: go for the general, almost-too-vague answers over the highly opinionated/emotive ones. It goes back to CB not wanting to get sued - it's nearly impossible to PROVE a character was "furiously angry" but it's easy to prove they were "somewhat annoyed." Good luck to you!</p>

<p>^second paragraph sounds useful. I'll try that sometime.</p>

<p>I scored an 800 on the first and only practice test I took. I think it has just came naturally to me since I have always read a lot and have a decent vocabulary. For the vocab you just gotta know the words :S. In the reading section I always read first then look at the questions, then refer back. I think the reading the questions first just slows you down since I don't know how you could answer all the questions and your first run through. If the answer is right, chances are it will be somewhere in the passage in a different form. Also, think about what they are doing.</p>

<p>Also there are answers that look right and feel right but are contradicted in the passage</p>

<p>I have a similar situation as OP, except I got 5 SC's wrong rather than 2. So I need to push my vocab up. Anyway, I'm doing some BB tests, and I've found that I'm now just making like 1/2 mistakes per section, so like 4 mistakes total. If you do that and get all the SC's correct, that's like a grand total of 730+ which is awesome for me. So I'm reviewing the mistakes and stuff, as I really want that 800, and I've also noticed that the general answers are usually the more correct ones, especially when dealing with questions about the passage as a whole. However, one mistake I make loads is misreading. I come across a question and many of the answers sound plausible based on my OWN perception of the text (I'm more of a guy who forms an opinion based on what's written rather than memorizes the facts that the author gives) and sometimes my opinion just isn't in the answers, even when I know it to be true. What I do here is re-read and try to find a sentence similar to one of the answer choices. For example, once, I came across an answer choice like this: "The character was X and Y about being Z". X and Y were just really hard vocab words that I'd absolutely never heard of. So I rechecked the passage, and found a sentence with the exact same structure, but different vocabulary and somewhat different Z. I checked that answer, absolutely not knowing what it meant. Turned out it was correct.</p>

<p>I'm hoping with enough practice I can get to a point where I just remember what the author said directly when I read the question. Isn't that what most 800ers feel? Like, you read the question, and directly remember what he stated and which answer is synonymous to that? Looking for advice from those who got 750+ first try because I need to get to that mindset by practice if I want that 800. And I'm a good reader but not the kind that memorizes it all, unfortunately. Or do 800ers have the same method I do (rereading?)</p>

<p>P.S. I generally find it better to read the questions and mark every line in the passage where a line reference is found in the Qs. Then read. While reading, skim the parts that aren't underlined, and read the parts that ARE underlined very carefully, then answer the question about that part as you get to it in the passage. For most questions, you only need to read before that line reference and only slightly after (couple sentences after it.) Some of them , even though they have a line reference, need the whole passage to be read, but you'll recognize those if you come across them. And just leave them til the end, after you're done with all the others. Leave all the general questions til the end too. Note however, that taking the line references of each Q and underlining them will take you around a minute of your time (do it as fast as humanely possible). I've found it's extremely worth it though. Underlining also helps my concentrate while reading, for whatever reason.</p>

<p>I've scored an 800 CR on each of my last three SAT exams. Here's my (lengthy) advice:</p>

<ol>
<li><p>For both SC and PBR, the overriding approach should be to eliminate wrong answers. Only on the easiest questions should you be directly finding the correct answer.</p></li>
<li><p>Vocab study helps for SC, but only for about 3-4 out of 19 items. The rest you should be able to narrow down using a process of elimination and your current vocab. These hardest 3-4 will require a good breadth of vocab - there are numerous resources out there that you can find and work on. </p></li>
<li><p>For PBR, I do not recommend skipping to the questions first. Often the 1-2 hardest questions associated with a given long-format passage will require a thorough grasp of the 'big picture', or will ask you to make an extended inference. Begin by quickly and accurately reading the passage!</p></li>
</ol>

<p>The only reason to skip to the questions first would be to save time, but the reality is that you can not consistently score 800 on CR if you aren't able to quickly and accurately read the passages. Work on your reading speed and comprehension on practice tests, or by reading articles from your favorite news source - The Economist is one of my favorites. </p>

<ol>
<li><p>When you finish reading the passage, ask yourself a few broad-stroke questions before advancing to the questions. What was the main idea/topic? How does the author feel about this topic? Ensuring you've got a good grasp on these themes will help with the next step.</p></li>
<li><p>On the PBR questions, cover the answer choices with your hand while you read the question. If you've understood the passage fully and followed step 4, you should be able to come up with an answer in your own words before reviewing the answer choices. This step may feel silly, but it can be instrumental in eliminating wrong answer choices that don't match your 'own words' answer. ETS loves to devise distractors that fall into a category I call "Not Mentioned, But Sounds Good!", where the answer choice seems very logical and defensible... but is not directly supported by the text. These distractors are often the final barrier between scoring in the low-mid 700s and reaching 800.</p></li>
<li><p>If you're at a 660, these questions probably aren't an issue for you(as they're always the easiest!), but on the vocab in context PBR questions, simply "read in your head" the sentence in question five times, substituting each of the answer choices A-E for the chosen word. </p></li>
<li><p>Above all else, remember that correct answers are always, and I repeat, always DIRECTLY SUPPORTED BY THE TEXT. I can't emphasize that enough. </p></li>
</ol>

<p>Let me know if you have any other questions I can help with.</p>

<p>Well, I already knew all you said, but I have to reemphasize for others: 5 and 7 especially are 100% true. I've consistently found that when I answer wrong, I should've just referred to the text. The answer was right there in front of me, in different words. I think I stopped doing that kind of mistake, thankfully.</p>

<p>My main problem is number 5. Which relates to number 7, actually. I usually notice something the author very well might've implied, but never explicitly stated. In this case, it's best to reread the certain part.</p>

<p>Also, I have to disagree on one thing. EVERY question that has a line reference can be answered without reading the whole passage. It's best to do those in the method I wrote above. At least for me. For the general passage based questions (main idea, questions about the text as a whole...), you have to read the whole passage. </p>

<p>I got a 630 on the Jan. SAT (horrible in my books) with 5 SCs wrong. I would've gotten a 700 had it not been for those pesky vocab words, which I'm working on for June. Took the May one but my scores are on Friday (ugh). I'm practicing my butt off to be able to get that 800 on CR :D Anyone seen someone with such a dramatic increase in CR? 630->800 seems seriously difficult.</p>

<p>As someone who got an 800, I love the CR section! The key is finding answers supported in the text -- they're not always in the lines mentioned in the question, but they should, at least, be found near those lines. I also recommend reading the passage question-by-question. That's my method.</p>