SAT CRITICAL READING

PART 4

 

PASSAGE-BASED READING QUESTIONS

 

Tips on Handling
Passage-Based Reading Questions


TIP 5

Tackle Paired Passages One Passage at a Time

If the double-passage section has you worried, relax. It’s not that formidable, especially if you deal with it our way. The double reading passage is usually found in a separate section. First you’ll see a few lines in italics introducing both passages. Then will come the two passages. Their lines will be numbered as if they were one enormous passage: thus, if Passage 1 ends on line 42, Passage 2 will begin on line 43. However, they are two separate passages, and you should tackle them one at a time. Remember: the questions are organized sequentially: questions about Passage 1will come before questions about Passage 2. Therefore, do things in order. First read Passage 1; then jump straight to the questions and answer all those based on Passage 1. Most of the time, the Passage 1 questions will immediately follow the excerpts. Once in a great while, one or two questions that refer to both passages will precede the questions about Passage 1. In that case, don’t get sidetracked. Skip the questions referring to both passages, and focus on those based on Passage 1. Next read Passage 2; then answer all the questions based on Passage 2.

 

 

COMMON LITERARY TERMS

allusion

reference to something

analogy

comparison; similarity of functions or properties; likeness

anecdote

short account of an incident (often autobiographical)

antithesis

direct opposite

argumentative

presenting a logical argument

assertion

positive statement; declaration

cite

to refer to; to quote as an authority

euphemism

mild or indirect expression substituted for one felt offensive or harsh (Example: “Downsizing employees” is a euphemism for firing them.)

expository

concerned with explaining ideas, facts, and so on

generalization

simplification; general idea or principle

metaphor

an expression used to suggest a similarity between two things that are not literally equivalent (Example: “He’s a tiger!”)

narrative (adj.)

relating to telling a story

paradox

statement that contradicts itself (Example: “I always lie.”)

rhetorical

relating to the effective use of language

thesis

the central idea in a piece of writing; a point to be defended

 

Finally, tackle the three or four questions that refer to both passages. Go back to both passages as needed.