Learnist: Best Reading Strategies for the SAT

The Critical Reading section of the SAT consists of approx 70% passage-based questions. Remember the SAT test booklet is your scratch paper – don’t be afraid to use it to take notes on the passages as you read!

To focus your brain, it is especially important to take notes as you read and practice what is known as “active reading.” This video from Kaplan describes a system of notes you might find helpful called a “Passage Map.” A Passage Map helps you track:

  • Main Ideas
  • Beliefs and Opinions
  • Details

Even if you don’t want to write a full Passage Map, make sure you at least underline the main idea of the paragraph and circle any relevant details. It will be much easier to get the questions correct later on if you thoroughly understood the passage the 1st time through. Never skim!