SAT / ACT Prep Online Guides and Tips

How Science/Math People Can Do Well on SAT/ACT 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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Author Technique Questions in SAT Reading: Strategies

Author technique questions are some of the rarer questions you will see on the SAT 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 Ultimate Study Guide for SAT Reading: Strategies, Tips, and Practice

We've created the best guide to the SAT Reading section out there.

This is not just us tooting our own horns. By reading many SAT prep books as well as studying the CollegeBoard’s own resources, we've been able to take the best aspects of each and combine them into a magnificent Frankenstein’s monster of a guide.

We cover each SAT Reading question type in detail, organized not by how the questions are asked, but by the essential underlying skills the questions are testing. You'll get the best SAT Reading tips and strategies available, as well as information about how to get the most out of your SAT Reading practice and prep.

If you're looking for a comprehensive guide to SAT Reading and how to improve your SAT Reading score, the information provided herein is invaluable. Master all these concepts, use realistic practice questions, and learn how to learn from your mistakes, and you'll be able to increase your SAT Reading score drastically.

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Little Picture Questions in SAT Reading: 5 Key Tips

Little picture, or detail, questions make up a significant amount of questions on the SAT Critical Reading sections. Of 4 post-2005 publicly available tests I surveyed, little picture questions accounted for 25% of all passage-based questions and 17% of all SAT Reading questions. This means that it is well worth your time in your SAT Reading prep to make sure you can consistently answer little picture questions accurately and in a reasonable amount of time (what that range is for accuracy and reasonableness will depend on the score you are aiming for).

In this article, I’ll provide examples of the different ways the SAT will ask you to use little picture skills, explain the SAT Reading strategies you can use to help with these questions, and end with a walkthrough of a sample questions. First, however, I’ll explain what exactly I mean by “little picture” questions.

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How to Study Vocabulary for the New 2016 SAT

Are you planning to take the 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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Function Questions on SAT Reading: Strategies and Practice

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 Important Is Vocabulary for the 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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Breakdown of Every Question Type in SAT Reading by %

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 every publicly available SAT and analyzed how frequently every type of Reading question shows up on the exam.

In this article, which has been fully updated for the new SAT, 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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How to Improve Your SAT Reading Score: 8 Strategies

Are you struggling with an SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW) score between 300 and 500? You're not alone—hundreds of thousands of students are scoring in this range. But many don't know the best ways to break out of this score range and get a 600 or higher.

Here, we'll discuss how to improve your SAT Reading score specifically and why it's so important to do so. Unlike other fluffy articles out there, we'll be focusing on actionable strategies. Put these eight strategies to work and I'm confident you'll be able to improve your SAT Reading score.

UPDATE: This article discusses a previous version of the SAT. If you are looking to raise your score on the digital SAT check out my guide to getting an 600 on SAT Reading and Writing.

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The Best Way to Read the Passage in SAT Reading

The SAT Reading section presents you with challenging tasks. Not only will you have to sustain your focus over a long 65-minute section, but you'll also have to search actively for evidence in each passage to back up your answers.

The test may be time intensive and full of tricky "distractor" answers, but you can learn to avoid the common pitfalls with the right approach. This guide will discuss the best strategies for reading the passages effectively and achieving a high score on the new SAT Reading. To start, let's go over what the redesigned passages are going to look like on your test.

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What Is SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing?

Makers of the new SAT have decided that the Reading and Writing sections go together like peanut butter and jelly. Instead of treating them separately, College Board now takes Reading and Writing together to give you one Evidence-based Reading and Writing score.

This guide will go over exactly how these two sections merge and how this new format affects your test prep. To begin, let’s define this new category on the SAT.

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How to Analyze Data Graphics on SAT Reading and Writing

On both the Reading and Writing sections of the SAT, there are questions that incorporate graphs, charts, and tables. On the Reading section, the Official SAT Study Guide refers to these questions as "interpreting data presented in informational graphics." On the Writing section, they're referred to as "drawing connections between words and data." Both question types contribute to your Command of Evidence subscore.

For the purposes of brevity and clarity, I'll call the Reading and Writing questions that use data and graphics quantitative questions. In this article, I'll explain the different types of quantitative questions on Reading and Writing. Furthermore, I'll give you example questions and strategies to help you correctly answer quantitative questions on the SAT.

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How to Master SAT Reading Questions: A 5-Step Process

SAT Reading questions are notoriously tricky. They'll ask you to analyze passages in unfamiliar ways that seem confusing if you're not used to the format. It's helpful to have a basic game-plan for approaching tough Reading questions to make the Reading and Writing section less overwhelming. This article lays out a step-by-step process for interpreting Reading questions and lists a few tricks you should look out for to avoid making careless mistakes.

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Command of Evidence: 5 Key SAT Reading Strategies

The new SAT challenges students to understand the reasoning behind each answer they pick. Command of Evidence questions are a manifestation of this mission. In order to answer them, you have to carefully evaluate your thought process and the evidence presented by the author of the passage.

This article will focus on the evidence questions on the Reading section of the SAT; we have a separate article on Writing questions. In this guide, I'll tell you exactly what these questions test, what kinds there are, and how you can learn to answer them correctly every time!  

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Vocab In Context Questions and Strategies for SAT Reading

What are "vocab in context questions" and what are the best ways to approach answering them? In this article, I'll go over the basics of what vocab in context questions are, then transition into more in-depth discussions of each of the two types (complete with examples, both official and homemade).

Finally, I'll end with suggesting strategies to use when tackling these types of questions.

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