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Ch 17: SAT Reading: Understanding Reading Passages

About This Chapter

Make sure that you're ready for the critical reading portion of your SAT. Watch our user-friendly videos and complete the quizzes for immediate feedback.

SAT Reading: Understanding Reading Passages - Chapter Summary

Sharpen your comprehension skills by reviewing our approaches to the test through short, video lessons. Practice these critical reading strategies:

  • Analyze literary passages
  • Infer intended meanings
  • Get the gist of an essay
  • Use visualization
  • Understand mood and tone
  • Use connotation and denotation
  • Explore structure and its effect on meaning
  • Practice 'big picture' and 'close' reading
  • Use text to guide interpretation of literary meaning

SAT Critical Reading Objectives

The critical reading section of your SAT is composed of 52 questions and tasks. The passage-based questions assess your abilities in using various reading strategies:

  • Determining the meanings of words from context
  • Understanding literal meanings directly stated
  • Extending reasoning by synthesizing, analyzing, and evaluating

The largest portion of the questions deals with extending reasoning, and that's why this chapter of our lessons is especially important. The test passages are fiction or non-fiction, and they come from social studies, humanities or natural sciences text. The styles also vary, and might include elements of narrative, expository or argumentative writing.

The length of passages ranges from about 100 to 850 words. The questions don't progress in difficulty, like the sentence completions, but appear according to the reasoning of each passage. Some questions will include line numbers, to refer you to a specific area of a passage. In most cases, however, you'll still need to consider the entire passage to decide on the best answer.

8 Lessons in Chapter 17: SAT Reading: Understanding Reading Passages
How to Analyze a Literary Passage: A Step-by-Step Guide

1. How to Analyze a Literary Passage: A Step-by-Step Guide

In this lesson, we will examine the steps involved in the basic analysis of literature. Then, using a well-known fable, we will go through each step of analysis: comprehension, interpreting and drawing conclusions.

Interpreting Literary Meaning: How to Use Text to Guide Your Interpretation

2. Interpreting Literary Meaning: How to Use Text to Guide Your Interpretation

In this lesson, we will discuss how to find and interpret literary meaning in writings. The lesson will focus on using the text to find key elements to guide your interpretation.

Get the Gist of an Essay & Improve Reading Comprehension

3. Get the Gist of an Essay & Improve Reading Comprehension

In this lesson, we learn quick rules of getting the 'gist' or point of a sentence, paragraph and essay. This skill will improve your reading speed and help you become a more effective and efficient reader and writer.

Close Reading vs. Big Picture Reading Strategies

4. Close Reading vs. Big Picture Reading Strategies

In this lesson, learn about two different approaches to reading a work of literature: big picture strategies and close reading strategies. Discover how these two perspectives can be put into practice through examples from the play 'Romeo and Juliet.'

Reading Strategies Using Visualization

5. Reading Strategies Using Visualization

In this lesson, we will define visualization. We will then discuss why this step is important, how we can visualize, and when you should visualize. Finally, we will look at a sample from a poem and practice visualizing.

What is Structure in Writing and How Does it Affect Meaning?

6. What is Structure in Writing and How Does it Affect Meaning?

In this lesson, we will define the role of structure in literature. From there, we will look at the different ways to structure fiction and how it affects the meaning.

What is a Summary? - Definition & Concept

7. What is a Summary? - Definition & Concept

In this lesson you'll learn what summaries are and how they differ from other forms of condensed writing. You'll also be shown an example of a summary, and what should and should not be included in a summary paragraph.

Evaluating Reasoning in an Essay or Article

8. Evaluating Reasoning in an Essay or Article

Being able to effectively evaluate reasoning can be helpful to you as you develop your own deductive and inductive reasoning skills and put those skills to work in persuasive essays. This lesson sheds some light on how to evaluate reasoning.

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