Effective SAT Reading Strategies for Every Passage

To ace the SAT Reading section, it's crucial to have effective strategies tailored to each passage type: Literary Narrative/Fiction, Social Science, Natural Science, and Humanities. Here are strategies for each:

 Literary Narrative/Fiction

1. Understand the Characters: Pay attention to character names, traits, and relationships.

2. Analyze the Plot: Identify the story's main conflict, climax, and resolution.

3. Focus on Theme: Determine the overarching message or moral of the story.

4. Note Literary Devices: Look for figurative language, symbolism, and irony.

5. Read Actively: Engage with the text by asking questions, making predictions, and summarizing key points.

6. Consider Historical Context: Understand the time period and cultural influences on the narrative.

 Social Science

1. Identify the Main Idea: Look for the author's central argument or thesis.

2. Pay Attention to Data: Analyze any tables, charts, or graphs provided.

3. Understand Key Concepts: Be familiar with terms and concepts related to the social sciences.

4. Evaluate Evidence: Determine if the evidence provided supports the author's claims.

5. Be Aware of Biases: Consider the author's perspective and any potential biases.

6. Note the Argument Structure: Identify premises, supporting evidence, and conclusions.

 Natural Science

1. Focus on Experimentation: Understand the experimental process and findings.

2. Interpret Data: Analyze graphs, tables, and figures to draw conclusions.

3. Identify Variables: Recognize independent, dependent, and control variables.

4. Understand Scientific Principles: Be familiar with scientific laws, theories, and concepts.

5. Evaluate Hypotheses: Determine if the author's hypotheses are supported by the evidence.

6. Note Any Conflicts: Identify any inconsistencies or gaps in the scientific research presented.


1. Identify Key Themes: Look for recurring themes or motifs in the passage.

2. Consider Author's Perspective: Understand the author's background, beliefs, and influences.

3. Analyze Style and Tone: Identify the author's writing style and the tone of the passage.

4. Pay Attention to Structure: Note any specific structural elements, such as flashbacks or foreshadowing.

5. Understand Historical Context: Consider the time period and cultural influences on the author's work.

6. Note Literary Devices: Look for figurative language, symbolism, and other literary devices.

 General Strategies

1. Read the Questions First: Skim the questions before reading the passage to know what to look for.

2. Use Context Clues: Infer meanings of unfamiliar words from the surrounding text.

3. Mark Up the Passage: Underline important details, circle key terms, and make annotations.

4. Keep Track of Time: Aim to spend about 13 minutes per passage to ensure you have enough time for each question.

5. Eliminate Wrong Answers: Cross out obviously incorrect answer choices to narrow down options.

6. Answer What You Know: Skip difficult questions and return to them later if needed.

By understanding and implementing these strategies, you can effectively navigate every type of passage in the SAT Reading section and improve your overall score.