SAT / ACT Prep Online Guides and Tips

Big Picture Questions in SAT Reading: Strategies and Tips

Posted by Laura Staffaroni | Jul 24, 2015 6:00:00 PM

SAT Reading

On SAT Reading, there are three kinds of questions that require you to read large amounts of text and distill them down into answers. At PrepScholar, we call these "Big Picture" questions.

In contrast to "little picture" questions that ask for specific details, big picture questions tend to ask about big ideas found in large chunks of text, which can be anything from a paragraph or a series of paragraphs up to an entire passage (or multiple passages, if it's a paired passage question). Learning to answer these sorts of questions will prove very useful for college or university, where professors will expect you to do exactly this with even more dense and academic writing.

But how do you identify these "big picture" questions on SAT Reading? And what are the best ways to approach answering them? Below, I’ll discuss the three primary types of big picture questions you’ll encounter on the SAT, along with common ways the SAT will ask you about each. I'll also give you expert SAT Reading strategies to answer these questions, illustrated with examples from real practice questions.

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Inference Questions on SAT Reading: 6 Strategies

Posted by Laura Staffaroni | Jul 23, 2015 2:00:00 PM

SAT Reading

Inference questions make up nearly 15% of all SAT Reading questions (based on analysis of four publicly available new SATs). Answering inference questions correctly requires the ability to take information given in the text and then draw logical, supported conclusions from it.

What are the different kinds of inference questions asked on the SAT Reading Section, and how should you go about answering them? I've got the answers for you in this article.
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Function Questions on SAT Reading: 5 Strategies w/ Practice

Posted by Laura Staffaroni | Jul 23, 2015 11:00:00 AM

SAT Reading

Function questions (also sometimes known as “meaning in context” questions) make up 17% of all passage-based reading questions, or about 12% of all SAT Critical Reading questions (based on my survey of the four publicly available post-2005 SATs). Answering function questions requires the ability to step back from the text and judge the effect of a phrase in a certain place (as opposed to little picture and vocab in context questions, which are just concerned with meaning).

So how are function questions asked on the SAT, and what strategies can you use to answer them? Read on to find out.

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How Science/Math People Can Do Well on SAT/ACT Reading

Posted by Samantha Lindsay | Jul 15, 2015 9:15:00 AM

SAT Strategies, ACT Strategies, ACT Reading, SAT Reading

The reading sections of the SAT and ACT can be intimidating at first glance if you’re more inclined towards math and science than the humanities. All those passages! The horror!

Fear not, my number-loving friend. The reading sections of these tests are actually more logic and evidence-based than you might expect. In some cases, your science and math skills can even help you find the correct answers.

This article details three strategies for approaching SAT and ACT Reading if you consider yourself a more math and science-oriented student.

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Breakdown of Every Question Type in SAT Reading by %

Posted by Samantha Lindsay | Jul 14, 2015 9:03:00 PM

SAT Reading

Passage-based questions on the SAT Critical Reading section can be a real challenge, so it’s helpful to know exactly what you’re getting into before the test. I’ve gone through the publicly available SAT tests and analyzed which types of questions show up the most frequently.

In this article, I’ll go over the different categories of questions, show you how frequently they each appear, and tell you what this information means for your testing strategy.  

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The Top 10 SAT Reading Tips You Must Use

Posted by Samantha Lindsay | Jul 11, 2015 8:30:00 AM

SAT Reading

To do well on the SAT Reading section, you'll need to prepare yourself to understand the material and pace yourself according to the structure of the test. In this article, I’ll take you through 10 quick tips for improving your Reading performance!

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Full Review: PowerScore SAT Reading Bible by Victoria Wood

Posted by Laura Staffaroni | Jul 11, 2015 8:00:00 AM

SAT Reading

PowerScore is a test prep company with fingers in many pies, including the SAT prep pie (the most standardized of pies?). They have published a trilogy of SAT Prep books: SAT Math Bible, SAT Writing Bible, and SAT Reading Bible (which is what I'll be reviewing today). Like most prep books, the SAT Reading Bible has some positive and some negative aspects. Read on to figure out whether or not this book is appropriate for you and if you should add it into your own test prep.

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The #1 Critical, Fundamental Strategy of SAT Reading

Posted by Samantha Lindsay | Jul 6, 2015 9:00:00 AM

SAT Reading

There are many different strategies out there for solving SAT Reading questions, but succeeding on this section really only requires mastery of one fundamental rule.

That rule is this: There’s only one 100% correct answer choice, and all the others can be eliminated without any ambiguity.

Read on to find out how this applies to your test-taking strategy and how you can use the rule to improve your scores.

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Analogy Questions in SAT Reading: Strategies and Tips

Posted by Samantha Lindsay | Jul 5, 2015 4:00:00 PM

SAT Reading

Though direct analogy questions were eliminated along with the old SAT Verbal Reasoning section in 2005, analogy questions remain in place in a more abstract form in the Critical Reading section. 

In this article, I’ll show you what analogy questions look like, the best way to approach them, and some step by step examples for solving them with real questions from the SAT!

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Author Technique Questions in SAT Reading: Strategies

Posted by Samantha Lindsay | Jul 5, 2015 12:00:00 PM

SAT Reading

Author technique questions are some of the rarer questions you will see on the SAT Critical Reading section. In this article, I’ll go through what these questions look like and how to solve them step by step.

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The Hardest SAT Reading Questions Ever

Posted by Samantha Lindsay | Jul 5, 2015 8:30:00 AM

SAT Reading

If you're aiming for a really high SAT score, you'll need to learn how to beat the most difficult questions on every section of the test. Here, I’ll go through a few of the most difficult questions I’ve seen on the SAT Critical Reading section and how to solve them.

Why exactly are they so hard? How do you tackle them? How well will you do? Challenge yourself for that top score.

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How To Attack Paired Passages in SAT Reading

Posted by Laura Staffaroni | Jul 3, 2015 6:00:00 PM

SAT Reading

Answering questions on multiple passages is a little different from answering questions on just one passage. Some of the same advice is still applicable, but there are strategies specific to multipassage questions as well. I’ll go over the two types of paired passages on the SAT as well as giving strategies for each kind of paired passage.

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The Best Way To Practice SAT Reading

Posted by Laura Staffaroni | Jul 2, 2015 9:00:00 AM

SAT Reading

Let’s get down to business, to defeat...the SAT Reading. How can you practice for the SAT Reading? Where can you find SAT Reading practice questions? Is it even possible to practice for the Reading section? Read on for the answers to these questions.

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How Important is Vocabulary for the New SAT?

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Jun 21, 2015 9:49:00 PM

SAT Strategies, SAT Reading, New SAT

Studying hundreds of fancy words from big lists has long been a mainstay of SAT prep. But with the redesigned SAT focusing on medium-level words in the context of passages, do you still need to drill yourself on little-used vocab words?

Before you expend superfluous energy to bolster your cognizance of recondite terminology (or waste time learning lots of obscure words), read this guide to learn what vocabulary you need for the new SAT. First, what changes are being made to the SAT in terms of vocabulary?

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How to Study Vocabulary for the New 2016 SAT

Posted by Halle Edwards | Jun 14, 2015 10:30:00 AM

SAT Writing, SAT Reading, New SAT

Are you planning to take the new 2016 SAT? Wondering how to handle the vocabulary questions? We will explain how the new SAT tests vocabulary and what that means for your study plans. Read on for an exclusive guide to new SAT vocabulary!

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