The ACT Writing Section: Back to basics
October 17, 2016
Tips for Evidence Based Writing Section of the NEW SAT
December 14, 2016


The New SAT test has been formulated to evaluate basic critical skills needed by students in order to excel in life and succeed in their respective career lines. Testing students on advanced vocabulary is not the need of the hour; equipping them to understand the subtle differences between common words is more important along with developing skills and tactics to comprehend challenging passages. The new revised test pattern focuses on such comprehensions based on content relevant to that which students will have to negotiate at college level courses.

Reading Passages Strategies:

1. Reading the questions first: One tactic that will work well with reading section is moving straight onto the questions and then returning to the passage. This technique is helpful as it is aimed at locating specific information in the text with respect to the questions. It ensures that test takers can save some time and review any questions that are tricky and confusing.

2. Scanning and Skimming: Rather than spending most of the time on reading the entire passage, one must focus on reading carefully the first and the last paragraph along with the first and the last sentences of each paragraph. This helps one to understand the main concepts and points. A more detailed reading can be done as per the requirement of the questions being asked.

3. Less Focus on Vocab: The New SAT Reading section is free of any Sentence Completion Questions that required an abnormally high level of vocabulary knowledge.Test-takers now need to focus on only reading. So a good idea is to orient oneself with the requirements of reading by reading anything one can lay his hands on! There are however a few vocabulary based questions that ask the meaning of a word as it appears in the context. Here again read the context intently to figure out what way the word is being used.

4. Analytical and Scientific Reasoning Skills: The passages are sometimes accompanied by charts and graphs which evaluate the candidate’s ability to interpret data presented. This can be easily tackled by practicing  a couple of such questions from ACT science sessions. Another tricky question type is based on selecting the best evidence to support the answer to the previous question. This question forces the test taker to reconfirm on the answer choice as it must be based on solid evidence from the passage. One must follow the elimination strategy in such questions to narrow down the options to reach the strongest evidence out of the four.

5. And there is one thing to remember: be sure not to allow personal preferences or prior knowledge to influence your understanding of the content. Always read a few lines above and below the content questioned and try to grasp the purpose of the content rather than read between the lines in search of what you ‘think’ it means.

Trainers at Option support each student in understanding his weaknesses and in channeling his energies and strengths to achieve the optimum.


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