HELP! CR for INTL STUDENTS! The critical reading really upsets me.

<p>The critical reading sections seem really tough to me.(I mean I am an intl and ESL student. It's a little bit like what math is to you guys, but I think CR is not like math which you can do a lot of exercise and cram on it.) I got a 620 on CR in Jan and 570 in May (really upsetting!!)</p>

<p>A good mastery of vocabularies seems helpful. However my score is quite and weirdly low in the May test while I am pretty sure I didn't misunderstand those questions and choices. </p>

<p>I'd like to learn how you guys tackle down the CR section. Do American students score high CR scores because of their English courses and extensive reading? Or is there any advice for me for preparing the CR sections? I think I still have got a summer to make up my poor scores... THX a lot!!</p>

<p>Do you make most mistakes at the sentence completing questions or at the passage-based questions?</p>

<p>I'm an international too and I think the problem is definetely the sentence completion questions as I know far too less vocabulary to solve them effectively (I'm learning with direct hits though).</p>

<p>I get all questions right that do not involve special vocabulary, so everything except sentence completion and words-in-context.</p>

<p>@Habeck: I've done the Barron's Hot Words list and a few lists of the Barron's 3500. Yet the score is @#$^#...It doesn't seem like have something to do with the vocabs in the SC part. I don't know what's wrong this time...</p>

<p>For the PR, I am stuck with some kind of logical problems. I mean sometimes I feel that two of the options are both correct and I often mistake the wrong one. On the other hand, I have no time to read the whole passage as the US students do. I wonder if that affects my scores. </p>

<p>Anyway, BIG THANKS for your advice! :D</p>

<p>If there are two likely answers for the question, then you must've misread something. They key is to go back to those lines and look for the key words.</p>

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On the other hand, I have no time to read the whole passage as the US students do. I wonder if that affects my scores.

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<p>That is a good point. You have to read the entire passage, not just bits and pieces of it, especially if English isn't your native language. If you skim or only read every third sentence, you might miss the meaning behind the passage.</p>

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<p>So should I train myself to read fast? I thought that getting to know each paragraph's first sentence would be enough. Also, with indication of Lines in the bracket, I originally thought there was no need to read the whole passage. </p>

<p>Do you guys have no problems with vocabs? I'm just trying to find out where the problem lies...</p>

<p>I think one problem many people have is that the SAT CR part does not work like an analysis in your english lessons or something like that.</p>

<p>For example, most of the answers that I thought were correct at the beginning COULD be infered from the text, but they are not directly stated there. At school, they would accept many of those answers, but TCB does not.</p>

<p>For example, I remember one story in which the author described the protagonist as a bit incompetent at communicating with other people and it seemed as though he was trying to evoke sympathy for the protagonist there, but that answer is deemed wrong by TCB as that is a matter of interpretation and not directly stated. The correct answer was something like "the protagonist is in a bad situation" or something.</p>

<p>Therefore, the advice "every correct answer is 100% supported by the passage" seems useless at first glance, but it has been the most useful for me when I realized that I could eliminate wrong answers using it.</p>

<p>Re: questions with line numbers
Sometimes these are self-contained.
However, many English words have multiple meanings, which depend on the context.
This means that you may need to read at least the full sentence ahead of the sentence covered by the line number (and possibly more), to answer correctly.</p>

<p>Reading the first sentence of each paragraph don’t work all the time because the questions are not always structured on a standard format of asking a question based on each paragraph. Indication of lines only helps to the extent of allowing you to identify a particular region, i.e. the lines identified plus one or two sentences above and below. </p>

<p>Not reading the passage in totality may lead you to think two choices are apparently correct, which cannot be the case. However, reading in totality does not mean u should read every word in detail. Rather, it means you got to get the flow of the passage, any significant turning point as denoted by words like “however”, “also”, “but”, etc. Because these turning points are usually the junctures that switch the general tone and a favourite portion to be tested in contrasting passages. </p>

<p>I think for a start, you should train on doing the CR sections without a time limit. Review the mistakes you tend to make on a frequent basis and reflect on why you decided on choosing a particular answer choice. If you manage to reach the stage where you are able to reason out why your original choice is wrong, then you will see a general pattern of how the correct answers are derived. Once you get into such a mode, I think you will see an improvement (the extent of improvement will be subjective because it depends on your standardized test-taking ability). Subsequently, you can proceed to take the test under a time limit. Some advocate taking tests under the 25 mins time frame (i.e. give yourself 15 or 18 minutes), while some prefer to take a gradual approach (i.e. cutting down to 25 mins from the initial 30 mins).</p>

<p>For vocabulary, many of us here on CC endorse Direct Hits for the ease of understanding the words and also for the number of hits it usually generate relative to other vocabulary books. Another key aspect is your ability to get the relationship between the two parts of a contrasting sentence. If a trigger word like “however” is placed in the sentence, it should aid you in understanding what the sentence means, and therefore which of the answer choices best fit the missing blank(s).</p>

<p>
[quote]
So should I train myself to read fast? I thought that getting to know each paragraph's first sentence would be enough. Also, with indication of Lines in the bracket, I originally thought there was no need to read the whole passage.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>It depends on the text, and what the question is asking. Especially with the more difficult pieces, the first sentence of each paragraph may be only an introduction and not an adequate summary. That can trip you up if the question refers to a specific sentence within each paragraph, or asks you the main idea of a paragraph or passage on the whole. Reading the first line can be a start, but if the question warrants it or you don't really understand the sentences out of context then go back and skim as quickly as you can.</p>

<p>

Thanks for your advice!! That makes a lot more senses. Well, exercise matters. I think I will focus more on reading faster this summer. And also, the College Board does have a different method of getting the tight answer. I think I am just unintentionally justifying the wrong options...</p>

<p>For the sentence completion, something you want to try to do is to pick a simple word you know that would fill in the blank. </p>

<p>For example, "There is no doubt that Larry is a genuine ------- : he excels at telling stories that fascinate his listeners."</p>

<p>Before you read the answer choices, think about what the sentence is saying and pick a word in your head that would fit the blank. The first part has a blank that describes Larry, but we don't know what, since there's a blank. So, we look at the second part. The second part of the sentence (after the colon) tells you that he tells good stories. So, the blank must be a word that means "good storyteller." Once you have that idea in your head, look at your choices and pick the one that means (or is closest in meaning to) "good storyteller."</p>

<p>^ Which would most likely be 'raconteur' :D:D:D</p>