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Practice with Double Reading Passages in the SAT

Practice with Double Reading Passages in the SAT
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  • 0:00 Double Passages
  • 1:36 Example Passages
  • 6:04 Tips for Double Passages
  • 8:04 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Natalie Boyd

Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.

In this lesson, you'll get tips to help hone your skills on the double reading passages on the SAT Reading Test. You'll also walk through reading a pair of passages and work through some sample questions.

Double Passages

June is really nervous. She's taking the SAT, and she's heard that there are some tough reading passages on the test. She's especially scared by something called double reading passages. She's not sure what they are, but they sound intimidating!

The SAT includes double reading passages, or two passages that include questions about one or both of the passages, including how they are alike or different, as well as questions about evidence, arguments, and vocabulary used in the passages. The texts will not be identical but will be somehow related to one another. They might, for example, each argue from a different side of an issue, or they might complement each other with similar or different perspectives.

There are several types of double passages that June might see. For example, she might see a famous U.S. document and then a speech based on it. Or, she might see selections from the social sciences, like psychology or economics. She might encounter two science passages that examine concepts in biology, chemistry, or other scientific field. Likely, she'll see a couple of double passages from different categories.

The bad news for June is that the double reading passages can be pretty tricky, but the good news is that there are a few tips and tricks that she can use to help her out. To get June ready for the SAT, let's look at a couple of passages together, and some tips and tricks that she can implement to help her do well.

Example Passages

June is preparing for the double reading passages on the SAT. She takes a practice test that includes the following document:

14th Amendment to the United States Constitution, Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

That passage is followed by this passage, which is part of the speech made to the Washington D.C. Supreme Court in 1871, as women argued that the 14th Amendment gave them the right to vote:

We are told, that to construe 'citizens' so as to embrace the right of suffrage, and thus thrust it upon woman, and thrust her into government and politics, is a war against nature; it is upsetting the primal foundations of society, and supplanting the preordained order of things. I may not here discuss the moral and social, not even the political aspect of these questions; but when I must contend for the ordinary use of a word, and so claim it as right, and when that right is to inure to a woman, I may show, if I can, that it would confer no new right upon her, that the right was always hers, and thus prove that the word was used in its ordinary sense.

That's a lot of fancy language! In fact, the first question on her practice test that June sees has to do with a specific word use. The question is:

1. In the second passage, the word 'inure' as it is used means:

a. to accustom someone to something negative

b. to provide exception for an act

c. to take effect or come into action

d. to require proof of definition

In previous SAT tests, vocabulary questions were set off by themselves, and often were presented as analogies or other questions meant to figure out the definition of an obscure word. In the current test, though, vocabulary questions are much more like this one: they might consist of a word with more than one meaning, and ask the student to figure out the word in the context of a passage. In this instance, the word 'inure' is used to mean 'to take effect,' and thus the correct answer is (c).

Another question that June comes across in her practice test involves using evidence from the text. For example, June sees this question:

2. Which clause in the 14th Amendment does the second passage argue applies to women seeking to vote?

a. 'All persons born or naturalized in the United States… are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.'

b. 'No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States'

c. 'nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law'

d. 'nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.'

Now, any of those could support the argument that women should be able to vote. However, the argument of the second passage is that women are automatically citizens of the United States, and that to argue that they are citizens of the United States does not change the meaning of the 14th Amendment. Because of that, the best evidence for the argument of the second passage is (a).

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