About This Chapter
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.'
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.
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.
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.
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.
Earning College Credit
Did you know… We have over 95 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 2,000 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.
To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page
Transferring credit to the school of your choice
Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.
Other chapters within the SAT Prep: Practice & Study Guide course
- SAT: About the Test
- SAT Writing: About the Writing Section
- SAT Writing: Text & Argument Analysis
- SAT Writing: Word Choice & Expression
- SAT Writing: Standard English Grammar
- SAT Writing: Writing & Language Test Practice
- SAT Writing: The Essay Portion
- SAT Writing: Planning and Writing Your Essay
- SAT Writing: Parts of an Essay
- SAT Writing: Sentence Clarity and Structure
- SAT Writing: Essay Writing Skills
- SAT Writing: How to Write An Argument
- SAT Writing: Supporting Your Writing
- SAT Writing: Revising Your Writing
- SAT Reading: About the Reading Section
- SAT Reading: Reading Passages
- SAT Reading: Interpreting & Analyzing Text
- SAT Reading: Literary Terms
- SAT Reading: US Documents & Speeches
- SAT Vocabulary Practice
- SAT Math: About the Math Section
- SAT Math: Numbers and Operations
- SAT Math: Exponents
- SAT Math: Equations and Expressions
- SAT Math: Rational Equations and Expressions
- SAT Math: Inequalities
- SAT Math: Functions
- SAT Math: Quadratic Equations
- SAT Math: Ratios, Rates & Proportional Relationships
- SAT Math: Unit Rate & Measurement Conversions
- SAT Math: Geometry and Measurement
- SAT Math: Triangles & Trigonometric Ratios
- SAT Math: Data Analysis, Statistics and Probability
- SAT Flashcards