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Ch 1: SAT Subject Test Literature: Reading and Understanding Essays

About This Chapter

Review the elements of essays to prepare you for reading and understanding them for the SAT subject exam in literature. Video lessons and quizzes incorporate all of the elements of the prose passages section in a simple and clear manner.

SAT Literature: Reading and Understanding Essays - Chapter Summary

Learn how to tailor a piece of writing to a specific audience, what to do when a peer gives you an essay to edit, and more. Use our video lessons to help you understand the basics of reading essays for better comprehension. You'll feel better prepared to answer questions about essays that appear on the SAT subject test in literature. Lessons in this chapter cover the following subjects:

  • Get the Gist of an Essay & Improve Reading Comprehension
  • How to Use Context to Determine the Meaning of Words
  • How to Determine the Best Audience Or Readers for an Essay
  • Peer Editing: How to Edit Essays by Other Writers

The lessons in this chapter use short segments that help you break essays down into their components to understand them more easily. With the practice questions in each lesson, you can gain experience with the kinds of multiple-choice questions you'll find on the actual SAT subject test.

SAT Literature Objectives

The exam tests you on English-language literary subjects generally taught in U.S. high schools. The subjects covered by the SAT subject test in literature can be categorized by literature source (United States, Great Britain, or other English-language sources) and by chronology (The Renaissance through the 17th century, the 18th-19th centuries, or the 20th century). In either of these categories, you may be asked to read an excerpt from an essay and answer multiple-choice questions about it.

About 40%-50% of the total exam pertains to prose passages, including excerpts from essays and fiction. An additional 40%-50% pertains to poetry, and up to ten percent covers drama and other literary topics. In all, there are approximately 60 multiple-choice questions. You'll read 6-8 texts (which may be excerpts or complete poems), each followed by a series of questions about that text.

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