SAT

How to improve your SAT reading score

By Edvoy• Last updated: Feb 17, 2023
How to improve your SAT reading score
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Improving your SAT reading score requires dedication, practice, and knowledge of the test. With the right preparation, you can dramatically increase your reading score.

In this guide, we will provide you with useful tips and strategies to help you maximize your score on the SAT reading section.

SAT reading section

The SAT reading section is a 65-minute, 52-question multiple-choice section that tests your ability to read, understand, and analyze texts. It is composed of five passages, each of which has 10–11 questions. Each passage is accompanied by a set of questions that ask you to draw inferences, identify main points, and recognize supporting examples.

The passages in the SAT reading section come from various sources, including literature, social studies, humanities, and science. They are chosen to represent the kind of reading you will do in college and beyond. In addition to the passages, the SAT reading section includes a set of vocabulary questions. These questions will ask you to identify the meaning of words and phrases used in the passages.

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8 tips to improve your SAT reading score

Improving your SAT reading score can be daunting, but with the right strategies, it's possible to improve significantly. Here are some tips to help you on your journey towards improving your SAT reading score:

1. Develop strong critical thinking skills

One of the most important aspects of taking the SAT Exam is thinking critically and analysing text swiftly. To build up these skills, read critically, focus on the main idea of the passage, and analyse the structure and organisation of the text. In addition, practice interpreting and analysing graphs and tables and answering questions requiring you to draw inferences and make assumptions.

2. Read actively and strategically

It is important to read actively and strategically to get the most out of each reading passage. This involves making connections between what you are reading and what you already know and taking notes to help you understand the passage and answer the questions. Additionally, pay attention to key terms and words that appear multiple times in the passage, as this can help you identify the passage's main point.

3. Improve your comprehension skills

The questions in the SAT reading section require more than just knowledge of words; they also test your understanding of the text. To improve this skill, make sure you read both fiction and non-fiction publications widely and practice summarising what you've read. You should also pay attention to the author's tone, message and meaning in all texts.

4. Learn how to skim

Skimming is an important skill to have in the SAT reading section, as it allows you to quickly get an overview of the passage and pick out important details. To skim effectively, read the title and introduction of the passage, scan the structure of the passage and look for bold words or key terms. Once you have a general understanding of the passage, you can then read the full text.

5. Develop your vocabulary

Developing your vocabulary is key to success on the SAT reading. Read extensively - books, magazines, articles, newspapers, etc. - to become familiar with as many words as possible. Make flashcards and quiz yourself on commonly used vocabulary words. You can also use online resources such as Vocabulary.com and Magoosh to help you learn hard words and their definitions. Additionally, practice using context clues to determine the meaning of words in context.

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6. Use process of elimination

The process of elimination is a useful test-taking strategy for the SAT reading section. As you read the questions, eliminate any answer choices that you know are incorrect. This will help you narrow down your options and make it easier to select the correct answer. Then, when you are left with two possible answers, use the passage's context to determine which one is more likely to be correct.

7. Utilize test-taking strategies

As with all tests, certain strategies can be applied to maximise your performance in the SAT reading section. Before beginning the test, you should plan out your approach. First, familiarise yourself with the types of questions on the test and the time limit for each section. Then, develop a plan for how you'll approach each section and use your time wisely. When you're taking the test, focus on the questions you find most difficult. If you're stuck on one question, don't waste time and try to answer it. Instead, move on to the next one and return to it after you've answered the other questions.

8. Practice time management

The SAT reading section is notoriously time-consuming, and it's important to practice managing your time effectively to finish all the questions. To do this, take timed tests or set up a timer for yourself when doing practice problems. This way, you will get used to answering quickly and accurately, given limited time.

3 best books to improve SAT reading score

Several books are available to help you improve your SAT reading score. These books provide strategies, tips, and practice questions to help you become a more efficient reader and improve your score on the SAT Reading section. 

The 3 best books to improve your SAT reading score are:

1. Barron's SAT Reading Workbook

Barron's SAT Reading Workbook is an excellent resource for preparing the reading section. The book begins with an introduction to the types of reading passages that are typically found on the SAT, including prose fiction, poetry, science-related material, humanities materials, and social sciences materials. Then, each passage type is analysed in detail, discussing its structure and style in order to better prepare readers for what they may encounter on the exam.

The workbook also includes a variety of drills and exercises designed to help students hone their critical reading skills by analysing text structure, summarising the main point, making inferences and drawing conclusions, recognising biases or fallacies in an argument, and interpreting figurative language. In addition to these drills, the book also provides practice questions from actual SAT exams.

2. The PowerScore SAT Reading Bible

The PowerScore SAT Reading Bible is a comprehensive book designed to help students prepare for the SAT reading section. This guide covers all aspects of the SAT reading section, including strategies, tips, and practice questions and provides detailed explanations of concepts, strategies, and techniques necessary for success in the SAT reading section.

The book is divided into four sections: Introduction, Reading Comprehension Strategies, Sentence Completion Strategies, and Passages. Each section is designed to help students understand the SAT Reading section and to give them the tools they need to succeed.

3. The Complete Guide to SAT Reading by Erica L. Meltzer

The Complete Guide to SAT Reading by Erica L. Meltzer is a comprehensive guide to preparing for the SAT reading section. It is designed to help both new and experienced test-takers maximise their scores on the SAT reading section. The guide starts with an overview of the SAT reading section, including the format of the questions and the types of passages that appear on the test. It then details each type of passage, explaining the most efficient way to read and analyse them.

The guide also includes test-taking strategies, such as managing your time and using context clues to identify the main idea in a passage. It also includes in-depth practice questions and includes detailed explanations of the answers. Meltzer provides tips on how to approach different types of questions, as well as how to identify key ideas and details.

Bonus Tip: Try the 5 best SAT Preparation Books to increase your vocabulary skills.

Conclusion

Improving your SAT reading score requires dedication and focus. You must read and analyse complex texts, practice with official SAT practice tests, and use various strategies such as skimming and the process of elimination. With hard work and perseverance, you can improve your SAT reading score and reach your desired goal.

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Frequently asked questions

1. What does the SAT reading section test?

The SAT Reading section is a 65-minute, 52-question multiple-choice section that tests your ability to read, understand, and analyse texts.

2. What are the best books to improve your SAT reading score?

The 3 best books to improve your SAT reading score are Barron's SAT Reading Workbook, Barron's SAT Reading Workbook, and The Complete Guide to SAT Reading by Erica L. Meltzer.

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