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The Reading Sections

Started by sukishan, Sep 07, 2009, 03:39 PM

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The Reading Sections
The reading portion of the test contains two twenty-five minute sections and one twenty minute section, for a total of 67 multiple choice questions. Nineteen of these questions are in the "Sentence Completion" format. Students are given a sentence in which one or two words are removed; using context clues, the test taker must choose the words that best complete the blanks.

The remainder of the questions in the reading sections assesses a student's comprehension skills. After reading a passage in humanities, social science, natural science, or literature, students must answer a series of questions about the passage. Passages may be a short paragraph or a longer article comprising two columns on the page. In addition, test takers will be asked to read two related passages and then answer questions that compare and contrast the main ideas and authors' points of view. For the majority of former SAT students, reading comprehension passages have proved the most challenging of all the questions on the test.

These reading sections rely heavily on a student's vocabulary skills and reading comprehension level. Because these skills are developed over long periods of time, reading is the hardest portion of the SAT to improve upon. There are many patterns, however, that can help a student identify correct answers. Certain vocabulary words are tested more frequently than others, and reading comprehension questions follow specific templates. Logic and reasoning also play a key role in many reading comprehension questions. The ability to eliminate easier answer choices can help pinpoint the correct answer, even if the student doesn't understand or why it is correct. Most test preparation books and courses will discuss these reasoning processes in addition to the test patterns and trends.
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