Panel of Experts

Karl Schellscheidt

SAT Prep Expert

  • BSE, Princeton University '90
  • M.A., Secondary Education Seton Hall University '93
  • J.D., University of Pennsylvania Law School '00

Fred Hargadon

Dean of Admission

  • Swarthmore College
  • Stanford University
  • Princeton University

Don Betterton

Financial Aid Expert

  • Director of Financial Aid, Princeton University (1973-2006)
  • Certified College Planner
  • Principal, Betterton College Planning

Seamus Malin

Admission Expert

  • Harvard University
    Dir. of Financial Aid
    Asst. Dean of Admission
    International Office Director

How to Approach SAT Reading Passage Questions

Videos   Reading   SAT
Karl Schellscheidt -

SAT reading passage questionsIn this prepcast, we’ll discuss how to handle the reading passage questions on the SAT exam. You might be surprised, but these questions are less about comprehension than knowing what to look for.

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How to Approach SAT Reading Passage Questions (transcript)

Hi I’m Karl Schellscheidt, Welcome to ePrep. I want to talk to you for a couple of minutes about the passage questions; the passage based questions in the critical reading section. I think its human nature for kids going into that section to think I need to read this passage and I need to understand it really well so that when I get to the questions that are sort of based on the passage, I have an easy time with the questions.

I think the mistake that a lot of kids make is this however; they try to remember too much. They start reading and they start trying to memorize every word and every sentence because you never know they might be asking me a question on this sentence or I want to read it really carefully. And what happens if you approach it like that is at the end you’ll know like nothing. So, don’t try to memorize the words, don’t try to memorize every sentence or the way they phrase things.

What you want to do is you want to approach it like this: Read with the notion of trying to get images in your head trying to get a little movie to play. So if the passage is talking about dolphin intelligence you should picture the dolphins in the water; the little tricks they do that display their intelligence. Or if it’s about a young girl going to the market with her mother picture the young girl in the market with her mother and the exchange between the mother and the merchants.

By the time you finish reading what you really want is either a little movie in your head or images of what the passage was all about. That’s a much better frame of mind to be in; it’s a much better knowledge going into the questions. So what you want to do is you don’t want to try to memorize every word and every phrase. You want to just get images from it. You want to get a little moving picture in your head and that will make the difference. The questions will be a lot easier if you kind of have a mental picture of what the essay was all about. And if you need specific information you’ll know where to go to find it. And hopefully that will help you maximize your score.

Karl Schellscheidt
Copyright 2006 — All Rights Reserved, ePrep, Inc.

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