Written by: Helen Donohoe
***Helen Donohoe, M.S.Ed., is a teacher of English and French in the Hamilton/Burlington area. She holds practice SAT sessions on Saturdays on an informal, drop-in basis at Cedar Springs Racquet Club where she is a member, long-time tennis hacker and aficionado.
In this section of the website we will be publishing short paragraphs on various aspects of SAT. Please leave your questions/comments here, and Helen will be happy to respond to any specific concerns from students/parents***
READING FOR COMPREHENSION
Many of the students I tutor for SAT struggle to read fairly simple material with expression and appropriate interpretation of punctuation marks – commas, colons (:) semi-colons (;), question marks (?) exclamation marks (!) and even periods (.) at the end of sentences. Some students even run out of breath before they reach the end of the sentence! This often means that after finishing the sentence they still do not understand it. To improve on this, you have to practise reading aloud. Choose a passage from a novel, play etc. that you are studying in school, or use the passage I have included below. Have a family member or a friend listen to you read and make suggestions. The actual SAT exam is of course, conducted in silence so it is essential that you practise aloud regularly, before the test date. Regular reading helps you build up confidence, and as you improve, you will find that you will be able to anticipate what comes next, allowing you to adjust the tone of your voice accordingly and to stop for breath where needed.
The math section of SAT too also requires careful reading and interpretation. Some students actually know how to do the math operation required, but misinterpret it because they do not understand the question.
Here is a well-known passage for you to practise. You can locate the rest of this monologue (Mark Antony’s funeral speech after the assassination of Julius Caesar) online to practise some more.
Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with Caesar.
William Shakespeare, (“Julius Caesar”, Act 3 scene 2)