In the lesson, our professor Rebekah Hendershot goes through an introduction on how to read and interpret a passage. She starts by discussing reading for the big picture and what to look for, then goes on to hunting the details and final tips.
When you first read the passage, look for the big picture—the main idea. That means concentrating on:
The important events of the passage (if any)
The major topics being discussed
The people or characters who appear most
The arc or “storyline” of the passage
Big-picture questions often come at the beginning and end of each set of questions.
What to Look For
The author’s goal—Why was this passage written?
Look at topic sentences.
Look at concluding statements.
Look at the ideas that get the most attention in the text.
Look for imperative statements or implied advice.
The author’s tone—What effect does this passage have on its audience?
Look at word choice.
Look at metaphors and allusions.
Look at pacing.
Look at your own reactions.
The author’s point of view—What does the author think about the subject being discussed?
Look at the use of language
Look at the focus of the discussion
Look for direct statements of opinion
Look for twists
Hunting for Details
After you’ve read the passage, read the questions. If necessary, go back and hunt for details in particular lines or paragraphs. You don’t need to read the passage twice.
However, if detail questions reference specific lines, always go back and read the lines in question.
Detail questions are often sandwiched in between big-picture questions at the beginning and end of each section.
Detail questions depend on context, so be sure to read the sentences around the section mentioned in the question.
Detail questions often depend on vocabulary, so study your vocabulary words to reduce the chance you’ll be tricked by a false meaning.
Remember, detail questions can sometimes give you clues to how the test writer sees the big picture of the passage. If you have to choose between your own interpretation of the big picture and the one supported by the detail questions, go with the details.
Read for the big picture first.
Watch for goal, tone, and point of view.
When answering detail questions, read for content and context.
Pace yourself—don’t get sucked too deeply into any one passage or section.
Use process of elimination to increase your odds of guessing correctly.
If you just don’t know how to answer a question, circle it and move on. Come back later if you have time.
Do not expect to be entertained!
How to Read & Interpret a Passage
Lecture Slides are screen-captured images of important points in the lecture. Students can download and print out these lecture slide images to do practice problems as well as take notes while watching the lecture.
The book features an effective, 5-step plan to guide your preparation program and help you build the skills, knowledge, and test-taking confidence you need to succeed. This fully revised edition covers the latest course syllabus and matches the latest exam. It also includes access to McGraw-Hill Education’s AP Planner app, which will enable you to create your own customized study schedule on your mobile device. There are 3 complete practice exams included, 3 separate study plans, and access to online quizzes.
This book features everything you need to score a perfect 5. Equip yourself to ace the AP English Language & Composition Exam with The Princeton Review's comprehensive study guide—including thorough content reviews, targeted strategies for every question type, and 2 full-length practice tests with complete answer explanations.
Grammarly is the world's leading software suite for perfecting written English. It checks for more than 250 types of spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors, enhances vocabulary usage, and suggests citations.