Critical Reading

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Discus: SAT/ACT Tests and Test Preparation: May 2003 Archive: Critical Reading
By Andymcgav (Andymcgav) on Thursday, May 22, 2003 - 09:19 pm: Edit

Hello. I was just wondering about the Critical Reading section of the SATs. How much should I read now if I am going to take the test in two years? I currently read about one book a week. Thanks a lot.

By Eurostar (Eurostar) on Thursday, May 22, 2003 - 09:43 pm: Edit

Omg...please don't worry!
I read ONLY what was assigned in class during freshman year. So, when i took the SATs at the end of 9th grade, I got 510 verbal, due mainly to critical reading. And i continued to only read what was assigned, until i took them again in 11th grade. That's when I prepped for the exam. I just did the 10 real sats, blah, and the verbal score went way, way up. It's all about the prepping. No, it's not about how much you read in you childhood. That is a lie. I read the MINIMAL amount, and got a pretty nice score.

By Jwood (Jwood) on Thursday, May 22, 2003 - 09:57 pm: Edit

It might be possible to get a good verbal score without reading a lot, but it is probably not possible to read a lot and not get a good verbal score. Just because Eurostar got away with reading the minimal amount doesn't make him someone to emulate.

One book a week is terrific, even if it has no impact on your score. However, I sincerely think that it will.

By Incognito (Incognito) on Thursday, May 22, 2003 - 11:23 pm: Edit


I cannot agree with Eurostar on this one. Can you do well without doing a lot of reading beforehand? Yes, but there's absolutely no certainty. Will you do well if you do read a lot? Yes. It's kind of like smoking, only to a somewhat lesser degree. You'll very likely develop cancer if you smoke a lot, but it's also possible (although less likely) that you'll develop cancer if you do not smoke a lot. Reading a lot will enhance your chances of doing very well. If it makes a difference, I used to get about 1 out of every 6 or 7 CR questions wrong/omitted a year and a half ago. I started reading "college material" at about the same rate that you read (roughly one book per week, depending on the total number of pages). Now, I get about 1 out of 15 CR questions wrong/omitted. That's a dramatic improvement, so I can say that it helped me a lot. Of course it will be different for each person, though. Keep in mind, though, that the amount of material that you read is perhaps just as important (if not less important) as what you read. Good luck.

By Snv (Snv) on Thursday, May 22, 2003 - 11:36 pm: Edit

haven't read a novel/play/literary work in high school--pull an A in AP english language cause our school is crap;

sat verbal: 800, nuff said....

point of the story: prep is everyting, literally

By Rockofeller (Rockofeller) on Friday, May 23, 2003 - 12:23 am: Edit

You are reading a lot, and that is good. Make sure to read with a dictionary by your side, and continue to challenge yourself with harder books. My life long love of reading was what got me an 800 verbal, as I did no prep. I used to read tons (before I got so much hwk) and had 12+ reading level in 3rd grade. If you keep reading like you are, you will have no trouble with the test.

By Andymcgav (Andymcgav) on Friday, May 23, 2003 - 11:29 am: Edit

Thanks Everyone. I asked because on the SSAT's which I took to get into private school (even though they rejected me....stupid Andover) I found the critical reading to be very hard and confusing. Well, whatever, I still have two years.

By Disparat (Disparat) on Sunday, May 25, 2003 - 03:32 pm: Edit

Reading definitely helps. I read a ton of books, and when I took the ACT I did some prep with a book, but not much at all for the critical reading section. I managed to get a 36 with one question wrong. Unfortunately not all of my other subscores were that high :)

By Demonllama (Demonllama) on Sunday, May 25, 2003 - 08:08 pm: Edit

I think critical reading is probably the easiest section on the verbal, IMO. Reading DOES help, in that you learn to read faster and process ideas and all that crap which helps save time, but I don't think it would be THAT big of an advantage. for critical reading passages, you have to read the questions and not read the entire passage, so you know what you're looking for. basically you do exactly what your teachers discourage you to do in class- read the questions and only look for what the question is asking in the passage you're reading.

By Vaj (Vaj) on Sunday, May 25, 2003 - 08:49 pm: Edit

"read the questions and only look for what the question is asking in the passage you're reading"

Really!?!?! Is that what most people do??? Do you guys just read the questions and look for the answers???

By Demonllama (Demonllama) on Sunday, May 25, 2003 - 09:19 pm: Edit

>Really!?!?! Is that what most people do??? Do you guys just read the questions and look for the answers???

that's what I do. that's a strategy I've learned and it's worked wonders for me, because I almost always get all the CR questions right and don't have to omit any either.

By Vaj (Vaj) on Sunday, May 25, 2003 - 10:10 pm: Edit

But how do you answer the comprehensive questions that pertain to the entire passage or the general idea of the story?

By Demonllama (Demonllama) on Monday, May 26, 2003 - 12:17 am: Edit

because you save those questions for last, and by the time you've finished answering all the other questions, you should have a pretty good idea of what the passage is about.

By Johnnyd (Johnnyd) on Tuesday, May 27, 2003 - 12:27 am: Edit

snv how did you prep for the verbal?

By Vaj (Vaj) on Tuesday, May 27, 2003 - 01:43 am: Edit

Demonllama, thanks that makes a lot of sense

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