Five Common Mistakes to Avoid in SAT Reading Section

SAT Reading

Many students take the SAT exam each year, one of the two major standardized tests that evaluate college readiness by measuring mathematical and verbal abilities. While the exam does, to some extent, measure knowledge, its purpose has always been to quantify the capacity of a student to think critically and apply knowledge rather than to determine the amount or quality of contextual information that a student already has from the outside world.In This article you will read about five common mistakes to avoid in sat reading section.

Five common errors in SAT reading

Testing errors such as misinterpreting a question or rushing the research through are some of the most common ways to lose points. By recognizing and taking steps to avoid the most common mistakes, you can make sure that your SAT score reflects your actual ability.

Not following a proper time limit

You need to read about 3000 words in 65 minutes and answer 52 questions. Each passage is paired with 10-12 questions, and you should be careful to spend no more than 12 minutes on each passage.

By managing your time effectively, you will be able to complete the entire Reading section of the SSAT in the stipulated time, but at the end of the test, many students still feel that the time limit is very less. To overcome this, you should exactly have an idea about the speed you need to constantly maintain, so you are advised to use specific time management strategies for a better result.

For, time management in this section, you’ll need to master the skim-reading approach for the Reading section of the SAT. Some students notice that they can easily read the whole paragraph in one go. Others tend to read the introduction and conclusion, along with each paragraph’s first and last sentences by just skimming through the other parts and are able to score good marks. Others read just the first and last phrases of each paragraph and are able to solve the questions. So, it varies from person to person, choose your strategy after implementing it in the practice tests.

Ignoring the Context of the Passage

Acknowledgment of the form and meaning of the passage you are reading gives some important clues regarding its purpose and the overall context of the related questions. A fictional literature extract is generally followed by questions based on literary devices, such as foreshadowing or allusion. Similarly, a scientific passage can challenge you to use background clues to make an often-unfamiliar subject meaningful. Historical documents are always to be considered in their broader historical context. So, whenever you’re reading, always ask yourself what kind of passage it is. Try to discover the purpose of the passage. 

Sometimes, these types of questions are quite tricky. To master these questions, you can take the help of private SAT tutoring.

Using External Information

When answering questions in any other exam, you ‘re probably required to answer questions based on your extensive knowledge base, but if you find yourself doing so in the SAT, you ‘re probably going down in the wrong direction. The SAT Reading section doesn’t test your current awareness. Instead, it assesses your ability to use the knowledge presented in the text.

Often a question is asked regarding a word’s meaning or the implementation of a specific definition. When you’re notching your brain trying to recall a science idea you’ve heard about in the class of biology, you probably won’t be using the tools that are just in front of you. You just have to understand the context and select the meaning from the options, fitting in this context. Many students find highlighting the appropriate portion of the text beneficial. When you’re asked about the meaning of a word, you should use the term context to get a response, not the dictionary meaning you’ve tried to memorize. Start plugging in the solution choices to substitute the word in definition before you find a suitable synonym.

Not knowing how to view Graphics

The Reading section of the SAT exam will always contain some informational graphics in at least one of the passages. In reality, three detailed graphics are included on each Reading test in the official SAT Practice Tests published by the College Board, and five or six questions are based on them. Infographics aren’t particularly complicated or time-consuming, as long as you know what to look for when interpreting them.

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Always read the descriptive title, and make sure that you understand how it connects to the questions asked on the basis of it. Then read the illustration on all the names. It would help if you recognize what the graph depicts and how the knowledge is represented. Eventually, when you read the graphics-related questions, make sure you refer to the right section of the graphic while attempting to answer them.

Do not make the most of multiple options.

The multiple-choice answer format is one instantly apparent advantage you have in the SAT. You can still depend on getting the correct answer in front of you right there. Make sure you use this advantage to the fullest. One way of capitalizing on the multiple-choice format of the SAT is by using the elimination process. The new version of SAT is without a guessing penalty, so you can always answer any question with your best guess, even if you’re not sure you’re right.


The SAT Reading section is designed to catch you off guard. So always try to work upon your mistakes in the practice tests because they can hamper your score in the actual exam. By defending yourself against these five common mistakes, you will be having a better plan to crack this prestigious exam with ease.

Want to improve your SAT reading score? Expert SAT tutoring will provide the right guidance in scoring well in the SAT exam. 


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