The SAT’s Critical Reading sections test students with a variety of reading comprehension passages and vocabulary exercises. This section’s emphasis on reading skills (on passages that are usually fairly boring) can also challenge a student’s testing stamina, so we wanted to provide an overview of what test takers should expect on the SAT.
The SAT’s Critical Reading test focuses primarily on reading comprehension, with a lesser emphasis on vocabulary skills. The SAT will always include at least three (possibly four, depending on the experimental section) sections of Critical Reading material. But what will students see on these sections?
A breakdown of the two main question types on the SAT Critical Reading test is included below:
As mentioned above, students should expect to see a variety of passage types and lengths on the SAT. Each passage is accompanied by several questions covering concepts like main idea, tone, vocabulary, and evidence. Students may see the following passage types on the SAT:
While the Critical Reading test prioritizes reading questions, it also includes a significant number of sentence completion questions testing students’ vocabulary skills. Students should be aware of a few important concepts about these questions:
In many ways, Critical Reading is the hardest SAT section to prepare for because its content comes from so many diverse fields. That’s why our curriculum focuses on teaching students skills that will serve them well regardless of the passage content or vocabulary words being tested on the SAT.
While pacing challenges many students on the SAT, it’s usually the biggest concern on the Critical Reading sections simply due to the amount of reading that’s required. Coupled with the nearly four-hour length of the entire test, students are often too fatigued to focus properly on material in these sections. Our program helps students build active reading habits that help them stay fresh and pull the essential information out of each passage without wasting time on unnecessary details.
Many students stress out when they prepare for the SAT because they try to memorize everything. Instead of spending dozens of hours reviewing flashcards and word banks, we stress concepts like word roots, prefixes, and context clues so students can apply what they already know on tricky questions and methodically arrive at more correct answers. Students who understand how to look for context and a few dozen simple roots gain an advantage on all of the SAT’s Critical Reading content without the long hours and stress of rote memorization.
Many students get into trouble on the Critical Reading test because they approach all of the content the same way. While this can be reassuring, it simply doesn’t make sense to approach a long fiction passage the same way you’d approach two short, paired passages. Our SAT tutoring teaches students the best way to approach each type of reading passage and vocabulary question, helping them both save time and answer questions more accurately.
SAT prep is a great way for students to build the stamina, skills, and confidence to excel on the Critical Reading test. Click the button below to learn more about our program, view class schedules, or register for SAT Classes.