Reading at least 15 minutes a day improves your reading skills… and your test scores. In fact, the results of a nationally normed reading comprehension test revealed a 30 point difference between high schoolers that read every day and those that did not.* Read on for more SAT/ACT reading comprehension tips.
Improving reading comprehension and speed requires practice. Reading should be in your daily diet; the newspaper or news sites are a great place to start.
2. Read a Variety of Materials
The SAT and ACT include passages on a variety of subjects including science, literature, history, etc. For this reason, it is important to read a wide variety of materials when preparing for the test.
3. Skip Weaker Passages
Read the passages and answer corresponding questions in order of your strengths. If you feel shaky on science, skip that passage and come back to it later. Just remember when you skip a group of questions on the test to skip the same number of questions on the scantron!
4. Read Actively
Read as quickly as you can while still understanding the passage. Ask yourself “why is the author writing this?” as you read to stay engaged.
5. Read the Entire Passage
Before answering questions, read the entire passage. Do not just read the question and the corresponding section of the passage.
6. Key Points
Underline any key points you think may be relevant to the questions.
7. Main Point, Author’s Opinion, Tone
By the end of the passage, you should be able to identify the main point, author’s opinion and tone of the passage. As you read, keep these questions in the back of your mind:
Is this an objective or subjective piece?
Is it persuasive? If so, on what side of the issue is the author?
If there are two passages, do the authors agree or disagree?
What type of passage is this (literary, historical, scientific, etc.)? Does that change your approach to reading it?
What is the main point? Why is the author writing this?
What is the tone, positive or negative?
8. Plug-In Vocab
Plug vocab-in-context answer choices into the sentence and eliminate any answers that don’t make sense.
When a question refers to a specific line in the passage, always read a few sentences before and after the referenced line. Often, the answer is not found within the specific line but around it.
10. Cite Evidence
Some questions ask you to cite evidence in support of your answer to a previous question. It’s best to pair these questions together and answer them at the same time. Your answer and argument to both questions should complement each other.