As you prepare for the SAT® Reading section, here are some tips and strategies to ensure you study efficiently and effectively:
1. Practice Being Timed
A great way to prepare for the Reading section is to practice being timed. With the pressures of completing the reading and answering the questions, some students struggle to finish this section of the SAT exam. You can benefit from practicing efficiency and trying some practice tests to see the areas that slow you down. Take a practice exam once without being timed and see how long it takes you. From there, you can evaluate how much work needs to be done to finish in time. If you continuously run out of time on the exam, there are many great tactics to try out. Read about them here.
2. Find the Reading Strategy That Works for You
There are a couple of reading strategies, and taking the time to test them all is a great way to find the one that works for you. Often, the most successful reading strategy is the one that allows you to be the most efficient with your time.
- Read the questions first, read the passage, then answer the questions.
- Read the passage first, then read and answer the questions.
- Skim the passage first, then read and answer the questions.
As you try out each strategy, track your performance and timing. If there is one strategy that significantly improves your efficiency, then you have found a winner.
3. Find your Weaknesses
After your practice exam, take a look at your score report. You will find a breakdown of your performance from each section of the exam and a look at your college and career readiness benchmark score. The College Board will display any areas of the exam where you did not reach this benchmark on your score report. UWorld’s SAT Prep course has thousands of practice questions, sample passages, and performance tracking tools for you to boost your performance in these weaker areas. The most important thing is practice, so once you can pin down the areas you want to improve, take the time to understand what you did wrong and practice that question type.
4. Read Widely
Many students are unprepared for the wide variety of genres and styles within the passages in the Reading section. There is also often at least one text written in an older style of English (most commonly in the history passages or in the literature passages). As you prepare for the different types of passages, sample as many styles as you can. While reading sample passages through practice exams, consider making a habit of reading widely outside of your studies for the SAT exam. The test is assessing your skills, not knowledge. Don’t worry about reporting on the outside texts: instead, use the time you spend reading to practice tracking evidence or observing how the author uses various writing techniques for specific purposes. Diversifying your reading is a great way to prepare for the difficult passages you may encounter in the Reading section.