Deciphering Meaning from Reading Passages on the SAT and ACThttp://schooltutoring.com/help/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2014/08/Reading-Passages-SAT-ACT.jpg 720 480 School Tutoring School Tutoring http://1.gravatar.com/avatar/78d03a5c650efdb2b2c5c83686f0c95a?s=96&d=mm&r=g
Questions about longer reading passages on the SAT, ACT, and other standardized tests tap students’ abilities to find and use meaning from what they read. These skills are important to college success, as students are expected to read and understand textbooks in unfamiliar subjects. Students are expected to extract the main ideas from what they read, distinguish between fact and opinion, recognize the author’s point of view, and summarize the passage, along with other skills.
Reading for Main Ideas
Most often, the main ideas in a reading passage will be in the first few sentences of a reading passage. Multiple-choice questions will give alternative statements of what the main idea might be. Read all the alternatives carefully before deciding on the best answer. One alternative might be too brief to contain enough information, while another might ask for a conclusion or opinion, a third might give more information than is necessary, and the correct alternative will give enough information to decide on the main idea.
Distinguishing between Fact and Opinion
Even fairly short passages will contain a number of supporting facts and some opinions, as any event is open to interpretation. Opinions will ask the reader to draw conclusions from the supporting facts rather than merely stating those facts. Opinions ask the reader to draw inferences as may not be supported within the text,
Recognizing the Point of View
Many of these questions ask readers to recognize the tone of the passage. Does the author believe the research is valuable or does the author believe the research is a waste of time? Is the author pessimistic or optimistic about the outcome of the research presented? If it is a historical article, is the author on the side of the winners or the losers?
Summarizing the Passage
Normal reading passages on standardized tests are relatively brief, so the summaries are no more than a sentence or two long. They restate key points , and cover the entire passage rather than just one section of the passage. The best alternatives focus on the big picture rather than one section.