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TPREP101: SAT Prep

Unit 3: Reading   The reading section includes both sentence completions, which require you to choose the correct word or set of words to fill in the blank(s) in a provided sentence, and critical reading questions, which require you to be able to find answers to various questions about a text within that provided text.  This unit will familiarize you with the format of SAT Reading questions as well as rules and strategies for finding the correct answer.  This unit will provide a few practice questions to allow you to apply your new skills.

Unit 3 Time Advisory
This unit should take approximately 4.25 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 3.1: 0.25 hours

☐    Subunit 3.2: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 3.3: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 3.4: 2 hours

Unit3 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to: - Explain rules and strategies for answering sentence completion and critical reading questions. - Generally identify properties or definitions of words missing from sentence completion questions. - Find answers to each critical reading question in the corresponding text. 

3.1 The Reading Section   - Reading: College Board’s “Critical Reading Section” Link: College Board’s “Critical Reading Section” (HTML)

 Instructions: Please click on the link above and read this page for
a brief technical breakdown of the types and numbers of questions
you will encounter in the reading sections of the SAT.  Use this
information to become more familiar and confident with the format of
the test.  

 Reading this webpage should take less than 15 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

3.2 Sentence Completions   *Doing well on sentence completion questions requires a good vocabulary and an understanding of sentence structure.

First, look for clue words in the sentence that give you an idea of where the sentence is going, including transitional clue words such as although, despite, because, even if, etc.  If you pay close attention to these clues, you should be able to tell whether the words that fill the blank are of positive or negative connotation, and you should be able to come up with basic words of your own to fill in the blank (e.g. nothing fancy, just words like good/bad, pretty/ugly, tall/short, etc.).  Do all of this before you look at any answers.  Then, you can quickly go through the answers, eliminating any that do not match the basic words you came up with.  You should only be left with one or two, which you can then check by trying the words in the sentence to see which fit best.

For questions with two blanks, remember that if one word of the pair does not work for the sentence, then the answer is wrong, no matter how perfectly the other word fits.*

  • Web Media: YouTube: PrepInteractive’s “SAT Reading Prep: More Sentence Completion” Link: YouTube: PrepInteractive’s “SAT Reading Prep: More Sentence Completion” (YouTube)

    Instructions: Please click on the link above and watch this video for an illustration of the strategy you can use to break apart and solve sentence completion questions.  Remember to pay attention to clues within the sentence, find a basic word that could fill in the blank(s), and then go through the answers, eliminating choices that do not match the meaning of your basic word(s).  The strategy shown here is applicable to sub-subunits 3.2.1 and 3.2.2.

    Watching this video and pausing to take notes should take approximately 15 minutes.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

3.2.1 One Word Completions   Note: This topic is covered by the reading assigned below subunit 3.2.  Remember to use clues from the sentence structure to determine a likely simple word to fill the blank, and then find a matching word among the answers provided.

3.2.2 Two Word Completions   *Note: This topic is covered by the reading assigned below subunit 3.2.  In particular, remember that both provided words need to fit correctly into the sentence.  If one word doesn’t fit, choose a different word pair.

You can also look for relationships between the missing words in the sentence to help you weed out incorrect answer choices.  For example, if the sentence reads “Despite ____, John was ____,” you know that the two missing words are expressing opposing ideas, since despite (and although, and in spite of) indicates that the result was different than might be expected.  Therefore, you can immediately eliminate all answer choices where the two words do not show the relationship suggested by the sentence, and focus your time on choosing between any answer pairs that seem like a possible fit.*

3.2.3 Sentence Completion Practice Problems   - Assignment: cK-12: Jason Shah’s “SAT Prep - Reading Questions” and “SAT Prep - Reading Questions with Explanations” Link: cK-12: Jason Shah’s “SAT Prep - Reading Questions” (HTML) and “SAT Prep - Reading Questions with Explanations” (HTML)

 Instructions: Please click on the first link above for “Reading
Questions” and complete practice questions 1-6 to apply your new
knowledge and to prepare for sentence completion questions.  

 Once you have completed practice questions 1-6, click on the second
link above for “Reading Questions with Explanations” and review the
correct answers.  For any questions you missed, read and review the
provided explanations until the correct answer makes sense to you. 
You may want to look back at the previous sections in this unit for
help.  Once you have studied the correct answer, think about how you
will approach a similar problem in the future and will avoid making
a similar mistake.  

 Completing this assignment should take approximately 15 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.
  • Assignment: cK-12: Jason Shah’s “SAT Prep II - Reading Questions” and “SAT Prep II - Reading Questions with Explanations” Link: cK-12: Jason Shah’s “SAT Prep II - Reading Questions” (HTML) and “SAT Prep II - Reading Questions with Explanations” (HTML)

    Instructions: Please click on the first link above for “Reading Questions” and complete practice questions 1-6 to apply your new knowledge and to prepare for sentence completion questions.

    After you have completed practice problems 1-6, click on the second link above for “Reading Questions with Explanations” and review the correct answers.  For any questions you missed, read and review the provided explanations until the correct answer makes sense to you.  You may want to look back at the previous sections in this unit for help.  Once you have studied the correct answer, think about how you will approach a similar problem in the future and will avoid making a similar mistake.

    Completing this assignment should take approximately 15 minutes.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Assignment: cK-12: Jason Shah’s “SAT Prep III - Reading Questions” and “SAT Prep III - Reading Questions with Explanations” Link: cK-12: Jason Shah’s “SAT Prep III - Reading Questions” (HTML) and “SAT Prep III - Reading Questions with Explanations” (HTML)

    Instructions: Please click on the first link above for “Reading Questions” and complete questions 1-6 to apply your new knowledge and to prepare for sentence completion questions.

    Once you have completed the questions, please click on the second link above for “Reading Questions with Explanations” and review the correct answers for questions 1-6.  For any questions you missed, read and review the provided explanations until the correct answer makes sense to you.  You may want to look back at the previous sections in this unit for help.  Once you have studied the correct answer, think about how you will approach a similar problem in the future and will avoid making a similar mistake.

    Completing this assignment should take approximately 15 minutes.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

3.3 Critical Reading   *The most important thing you can do to improve your score on the critical reading passages is to look for the answers to the questions in the text, rather than making guesses based on your own ideas, assumptions, and inferences.  Because this is a multiple choice test, your thoughts about the passage are outside of the scope of what can be tested.  What is being tested is whether you can find the answers to the questions within the text.

The questions are listed roughly in the order in which the answers appear in the text, so you can use line questions (which indicate which line in the text the question is referring to) as a guideline for where you should be looking for answers to the preceding, intervening, and subsequent questions as well.

Make sure that the answer you choose matches the author’s tone (happy, melancholy, amazed, bored, objective, etc.), scope (level of detail -- not too broad, not too narrow), and purpose (main idea).  Finally, stay away from extreme opinions or absolutes (always, never, all, etc.).  These are traps and are never the right answer.

It is generally a good idea to read (or at least skim) the reading passage before you begin answering questions, so that you have a basic context and understanding of what the passage is about.  During your initial reading, you can focus on determining the main idea or purpose of the passage and the author’s tone, as understanding this basic information is extremely helpful in quickly and correctly answering the subsequent questions.  However, take some time to figure out what works best for you.  If you get too bogged down in the initial reading, so that you have very little time to answer the questions afterward, it may be a better idea to just read the topic sentences of each paragraph, or to look at the questions first so that you know what you are looking for.  Try out each of these methods on your practice reading passages to find which comes more naturally to you, and gives the best result in terms of speed and correct answers.

For short reading passages, it is often recommended to look at the questions first, because the answers are easier to find in the short passage, even without a close reading.  Again, find what works best for you.  You will be much more efficient and accurate if you use a well-practiced strategy that comes naturally to you than if you try to rigidly follow a prescribed strategy that feels awkward and confusing.

You should spend about 15 minutes reading and studying the information and tips below subunit 3.3.*

3.3.1 Main Idea/Purpose   The main idea/purpose of an essay will often be indicated in the first paragraph.  There may also be information relevant to the main idea or purpose in the italicized introduction provided by the test before the passage.  Check both of these for this information.  However, the best way to find the main idea of any passage is to find the concept or point that is relevant to every paragraph in the passage.  If part of the passage is not relevant to a given idea, it is not likely to be the main idea.  Be sure to check your first choice for main idea against the actual passage before choosing an answer.

3.3.2 The Author “Suggests”   When you encounter a question asking what the author “suggests,” look back at the passage to find which of the answers the author actually says.  This will be the correct answer.

3.3.3 Word Meaning   Some questions will ask you to choose the best definition for a word used in the reading passage, according to its context in the passage.  Therefore, for these questions, pay very close attention to the context.  Read the lines before and after to make sure you are clear on the way the word is being used.  You should choose the definition that matches the literal meaning of the word as used in the passage.  All of the definitions offered will be possible metaphorical meanings of the word.  Your job is to choose the definition that is not metaphorical in this case.

3.3.4 All EXCEPT   The types of questions that ask “This passage/The author uses all ... EXCEPT:” are the most time-consuming questions in the reading section.  You need to actually go back to the passage, find examples of each choice and check them off, until you are left with only one, which you cannot find.  This will be the correct answer.

3.3.5 Dual Passage   *Dual passages start with questions about the first passage, then move on to questions about the second passage, and end with a few questions which require you to relate the passages to each other.  For example, the question may ask how the two authors’ tones or opinions on a subject differed, or how their tones or opinions were similar.  Complete the questions relevant to each passage alone first, as you would for a single passage.  Read the passage, and find the answers for each question.  Once these questions are completed, you will be very familiar with both passages and ready to tackle the comparison questions.

As you answer the comparison questions, keep in mind each author’s purpose, tone, and level of detail.  These basics should help you weed out obviously incorrect choices quickly.  Then, be sure to check back to relevant portions of each passage to ensure your answer choice is correct before committing to it.*

3.3.6 Critical Reading Practice Problems   - Assignment: cK-12: Jason Shah’s “SAT Prep - Reading Questions” and “SAT Prep - Reading Questions with Explanations” Link: cK-12: Jason Shah’s “SAT Prep - Reading Questions” (HTML) and “SAT Prep - Reading Questions with Explanations” (HTML)

 Instructions: Please click on the first link above for the “Reading
Questions” and complete questions 7-10 to apply your new knowledge
and to prepare for critical reading questions.  Think about the
strategies you have learned and apply them as you answer the
questions.  

 Once you have completed the questions, please click on the second
link above for the “Reading Questions with Explanation” and review
the correct answers for questions 7-10.  For any questions you
missed, read and review the provided explanations until the correct
answer makes sense to you.  You may want to look back at the
previous sections in this unit for help.  Once you have studied the
correct answer, think about how you will approach a similar problem
in the future and will avoid making a similar mistake.  

 Completing this assignment should take approximately 15 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.
  • Assignment: cK-12: Jason Shah’s “SAT Prep II - Reading Questions” and “SAT Prep II - Reading Questions with Explanations” Link: cK-12: Jason Shah’s “SAT Prep II - Reading Questions” (HTML) and “SAT Prep II - Reading Questions with Explanations” (HTML)

    Instructions: Please click on the first link above for the “Reading Questions” and complete questions 7-10 to apply your new knowledge and to prepare for critical reading questions.  Think about the strategies you have learned and apply them as you answer the questions.

    Once you have completed the questions, please click on the second link above for the “Reading Questions with Explanations” and review the correct answers for questions 7-10.  For any questions you missed, read and review the provided explanations until the correct answer makes sense to you.  You may want to look back at the previous sections in this unit for help.  Once you have studied the correct answer, think about how you will approach a similar problem in the future and will avoid making a similar mistake.

    Completing this assignment should take approximately 15 minutes.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Assignment: cK-12: Jason Shah’s “SAT Prep III - Reading Questions” and “SAT Prep III - Reading Questions with Explanations” Link: cK-12: Jason Shah’s “SAT Prep III - Reading Questions” (HTML) and “SAT Prep III - Reading Questions with Explanations” (HTML)

    Instructions: Please click on the first link above for the “Reading Questions” and complete questions 7-10 to apply your new knowledge and to prepare for critical reading questions.  Think about the strategies you have learned and apply them as you answer the questions.

    Once you have completed the questions, please click on the second link above for the “Reading Questions with Explanations” and review the correct answers for questions 7-10.  For any questions you missed, read and review the provided explanations until the correct answer makes sense to you.  You may want to look back at the previous sections in this unit for help.  Once you have studied the correct answer, think about how you will approach a similar problem in the future and will avoid making a similar mistake.

    Completing this assignment should take approximately 15 minutes.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

3.4 Timed Practice for the Reading Section   - Assignment: College Board’s “SAT Preparation Booklet 2007-08” Link: College Board’s “SAT Preparation Booklet 2007-08” (PDF)

 Instructions: Please click on the link above, scroll down until you
see the “SAT Preparation Booklet ’08” link, and click on it.  The
link will open a PDF version of the document.  Print out the test
(starting on page 38 of the document) to use for practice timed
sections as you move through this course.  Timed practice is
important in helping you become accustomed to the test-taking
environment and in evaluating your progress as you study.  

 Since you have now finished your review of the content for the
reading section, use the reading sections (4, 6, and 9) of this
practice test for timed practice.  Take note of the time limits
indicated at the beginning of the section, set a timer, and see how
well you can do within that time.  Then review your answers with the
answer key on page 84.  

 For any questions you answered incorrectly, take a moment to look
back and try to understand how you were led astray.  Think about how
to avoid the same mistake in the future.  Look back at any material
you need to review.  

 Completing this assignment should take approximately 2 hours.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.