Most common reasons for making mistakes on SAT Reading

  • Lack of Comprehension—I just didn’t understand the passage well enough.

Solution—Practice more reading to improve your comprehension.

  • Misreading the Question—I thought I knew what the question was asking, but I either assumed too much or misread the question.

Solution—Slow down and read every word of the questions. Don’t assume you know what the question is asking.

  • Jumped on the first Plausible Answer—I chose an answer without ensuring the other answers were wrong.

Solution—Use process of elimination consistently. Be clear about why wrong answers are wrong before identifying the correct answer.

  • Ran out of Time—I was running out of time and so I panicked and started guessing.

Solution—Tackle the passages strategically. Complete the easier passages first (usually Science and Social Science passages) and then go back and complete the harder passages. If you are going to run out of time choose a single letter and fill in your omissions with it.

  • Vocabulary Problems—I don’t understand enough of the vocabulary used either in the passage or in the questions/answers to accurately solve the questions.

Solution—Working on improving your College level vocabulary and practice your reading by reading longer texts. You can read the complete versions of most SAT passages.

  • Misbubbling—I wasn’t careful when marking my bubble sheet.

Solution—Write your answers beside your Questions in the test booklet and transfer answers a passage at a time to avoid mistakes.

  • Second-Guessing—I picked the right answer at first, but changed my mind.

Solution—Stop changing your mind based on gut-feeling. Your answers should be based on evidence in the passages and not how you feel Try to be aware of your own tendencies and make adjustments to correct your errors. This will NOT be a quick fix, so don’t expect to practice for 2 weeks and see miraculous changes. I find that students don’t give it enough time to really see improvements.

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