Strategy 6: Find Your Reading Skill Weaknesses and Drill Them
Reading passage questions might look similar, but they actually test very different skills. At Prep Scholar we believe the major passage skills to be:
Big Picture/Main Point
Words and Phrases in Context
Citing Textual Evidence
Analyzing Word Choice
Analyzing Text Structure
Analyzing Multiple Texts
Analyzing Quantitative InfoWhew - that's a lot of skills. That's a much more detailed breakdown than what appears at first glance, and what most books and courses offer.
Each of these question types uses different skills in how you read and analyze a passage.They each require a different method of prep and focused practice.
The SAT requires a lot of skills. Make sure you know which ones are your weaknesses.
If you're like most students, you're better at some areas in Reading than others. You might be better at getting the Big Picture of a passage, compared to the Inference. Or you might be really strong in vocabulary, but weak in understanding the function of sentences in a passage.
If you're like most students, you also don't have an unlimited amount of time to study. This means for every hour you study for the SAT, it needs to be the most effective hour possible.
In concrete terms, you need to find your greatest areas of improvement and work on those.
Too many students study the 'dumb' way. They just buy a book and read it cover to cover. When they don't improve, they're SHOCKED.
Studying effectively for the SAT isn't like painting a house. You're not trying to cover all your bases with a very thin layer of understanding.
What these students did wrong was they wasted time on subjects they already knew, and they didn't spend enough time on their weaknesses.
Instead, studying effectively for the SAT is like plugging up the holes of a leaky boat. You need to find the biggest hole, and fill it. Then you find the next biggest hole, and you fix that. Soon you'll find that your boat isn't sinking at all.
How does this relate to SAT Reading? You need to find the sub-skills that you're weakest in, and then drill those until you're no longer weak in them. Fixing up the biggest holes.
Within reading, you need to figure out whether you have patterns to your mistakes. Is it that you don't get Inference questions? Or maybe you're really weak at interpreting details? Or from strategy 1: is it that you're running out of time in reading passages?
For every question that you miss, you need to identify the type of question it is. When you notice patterns to the questions you miss, you then need to find extra practice for this subskill.