In redesigned SAT, College Board has merged Reading and writing section together to one section named “Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW)”. When you appear for the test, these two sections are separate, but at the end, you will just get one SAT score for entire EBRW with a range of 200-800.
Read this blog to know the guide to a perfect
. The first section on SAT will be Reading having a duration of 65-minutes followed by a 35-minute Writing and Language section. We must make a note here that Writing section is much shorter than Reading, but counts equally towards the combined EBRW score.
An overview of SAT Reading Section
This will be 65 minutes section with 52 questions and contains five passages. This implies approximately 10 min 45 seconds per passage or to be more precise 1 minute 15 seconds per question. It is very crucial to manage time on this section and to roughly divide 65 minutes among the five passages. It is very important to know what kind of passages is asked in SAT. Although, it is a very difficult task to predict the source from where College Board pick SAT passages, however broadly – one passage will be from US or world literature, two will be from the field of history or social studies and two will be from science. Each passage will have about 500 to 700 words. It is important that you ace this section in order to get a great SAT score.
We can categorize specific question types by reading section:
- Question about the message or overall purpose of the passage i.e. what is the Main point -trying to inform, Contradict, demonstrate, hypothesize
- Question about specific detail or line from the question. You should be able to locate the detail as every fifth line is numbered on passages
- Question about inference or to interpret the meaning of word, line, paragraph or the entire passage
- Questions about effects of phrase or sentence in a paragraph or the entire passage.
- Questions about author’s technique i.e. tone, attitude, voice or style of the author
- Questions about providing evidence in support of your answer for previous questions on the same passage.
- Questions about interpreting the information from graphs and charts which are provided with the passage
It’s helpful to create a step by step plan to approach tricky reading questions with ease:
- Quickly read the questions to understand what you’re facing. Circle/Underline the line numbers in the question and passage.
- In order to finish reading in given time, you must focus on the plot i.e. figure out what’s going on in the question and what is it about? Generally, questions appear in the same order as they appear in the passage. Redesigned SAT puts more emphasis on words in context. It is no longer a vocabulary game. Instead, you must be able to understand the meaning of words based on how it is used in the passage.
- Ask yourself: what emotion does this word express? Is it positive or negative? What word would I substitute in its place that would make sense?
- In case you are not a quick reader, it will be better to straightaway jump to the questions first and referring back to the passage for the answers.
- It is not necessary to know the meaning of each and every word that you read. Be alert to what the passage is saying about that word and how and in what context it’s used.
To improve your reading skills you must start reading relevant SAT articles, journals, Novels etc. You may refer to the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, or the Washington Post. Pay attention to the points’ that author makes and how they use an evidence to back up those points.
An Overview of Writing and Language Section
This will be a second section on the SAT which includes 44 questions to be done in 35 minutes. You’ll have about 47-48 seconds to answer each question. Every question in this section is passage-based. You will get four passages with 4-5 paragraphs in each passage with 11 questions in each passage. Questions will be listed alongside the paragraph to which they refer. In addition, according to College Board topics of each passage will always be careers, social studies, the humanities, and science.
SAT Writing and Language covers four Major skills:
- Command of Evidence
- Words in Context
- Expression of Ideas
- Standard English Conventions
About 24 questions will be related to Command of Evidence, Words in Context, and Expression of Ideas and approximately 20 questions will cover Standard English Conventions. These questions ask about sentence structure, usage, and punctuation.
Read on to know how you can develop all the skills required to excel at Writing and Language section:
- Make sure you study important rules of grammar such as parallel structure, modifier placement, verb tense, subject-verb agreement, pronoun-antecedent agreement. With a strong base of Grammar, you will be more confident about the right answer and will rely on a risky strategy of marking what sounds right.
- Go through important punctuation rules such as commas, semicolon, colons, dashes, and apostrophes
Since your writing and reading scores are combined, it is very important to perform well on both the sections to achieve a high verbal SAT score. Once you have an idea of what the question is asking, elimination can bring you closer and closer to the correct answer by crossing off obvious wrong choices. Note each mistake that you make to understand why that mistake happened to avoid that over and over again. Your goal at the end of all this is to get to familiarize with SAT format that you solve every question and have some extra time left over to recheck your work and achieve that dream SAT score.
ALERT: Avoid being doubtful about answer choices and concentrate on being confident.