In this lesson, our instructor Rebekah Hendershot goes through an introduction on passage-based question types. She discusses passage types, question types, literal comprehension, vocabulary in context, extended reasoning, passage-based strategies, key words and phrases and tips.
Passage-based questions are questions related to long, short, or paired passages.
They may ask you for information directly related in the passage, or ask you to draw conclusions or make predictions after reading between the lines.
These questions usually appear toward the end of the critical reading section.
Narrative, persuasive, expository, and literary elements
Literal comprehension questions ask you to identify information that is directly presented in the passage.
Vocabulary-in-context questions ask you to identify the meaning of words as theyre used in the passage
Extended reasoning questions ask you to draw conclusions from or evaluate the information in the passage.
Literal Comprehension Questions
To answer these questions, rely on your memory or look back at the passage.
Remember that the wording in the question need not match the wording of the passage.
Watch out for reversal words such as except, not, and only.
Most words in these questions have multiple meanings.
To answer these questions, go back and reread the sentences to which they refer. Study the context.
If necessary, think of another word that would make just as much sense in the same sentence.
Extended Reasoning Questions
May ask you to determine the main idea or the authors primary purpose in writing.
May ask you to explain what a particular word, image, phrase, example, or quotation means in context.
Draw conclusions based on the information provided.
Predict how the author of one passage might react to or evaluate an idea expressed in a related passage.
Identify the authors tone or attitude.
Understand a specific idea or relationship in a passage and identify a parallel or analogous one.
Passage-Based Question Strategies
As you read, make little notes in the margin to indicate what happens in particular sections, or what material is included there. Summarize key events and passages.
This doesnt help every student, but it might give you a handy reference when you have to look back at the passage later.
Dont spend too much time on note-takingremember its supposed to help you work faster.
Read whats there and what isnt
Pay attention to what the author is saying, even if you dont agree.
Read between the lines to identify the authors tone and attitude, as well as whether he or she is being ironic or satirical.
Remember that each passage has a purpose, but it may not be obvious.
Ask questions: As you read, ask yourself:
What facts are being presented?
are being conveyed?
What is the authors purpose?
What sort of writing probably came before this selection?
What sort of writing might come after it?
Read the questions first (?)
If youre really struggling to understand the passage, read the questions before going back to it. You may have an easier time if you know what youll be asked to do.
BUT this doesnt work all the time. Knowing what the questions are asking might be a waste of time if you cant figure out what the passage is about. Try both methods as you answer practice questions, and see which one works better for you.
Key Words and Phrases
When you see
According to the author/passage
To answer with what the author says/thinks, not what you think.
To choose the very best answer, and avoid letting merely good ones distract you.
To look for central or important elementsthe big stuff
To look for the answer choice that doesnt belong.
The author implies It can be inferred The author suggests
To read between the lines, and never substitute your ideas for the authors.
To choose the least likely, reasonable, etc. choicethe one that makes the least sense.
Its the same as chieflylook for the big ideas.
To choose the most likely, reasonable, etc. choicelike mainly and chiefly, opposite to least.
To watch for single examples of something (I am an only child), or restrictions (I only go running on Sundays.)
Same as chiefly
All the answers will be in, or implied by, the passage. Read carefully!
Watch out for descriptive words and phrases, like attractive, burned, or with a smirk. Details matter, both for literal comprehension and extended reasoning!
Read questions and answers carefully.
Dont let a good answer be the enemy of the best answer. Its possible for an answer to be both true and wrong.
Make sure the passage supports whichever answer you choose.
Use process of elimination. Remember, if you can eliminate at least two choices, its worth it to guess.
Double-check the other choices, just in case.
If you have read carefully, your first answer is very often the best oneunless you find new information on the reread.
Dont jump from passage to passage. Answer as many questions as you can on each passage before moving on.
If you must jump around, jump around within a set of questions.
Remember that going back to questions later may mean rereading the passage.
Go back to any questions youve skipped and see if youve learned any new information or drawn any new conclusions. Remember, your brain is always working, even when you think its not!
Recommended supplementary material to view SAT questions featured in lesson answer guides: The Official SAT Study Guide by the College Board.
Passage-Based Question Types
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.
Educator.com recommends The Official SAT Study Guide published by The College Board, the administrators of the actual SAT test. In it, you will find additional practice questions and a review of all subjects, along with 10 official SAT practice tests. Our instructors work through several of the practice tests in real time, going through their thought processes and test-taking tips.
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