All You Need To Know About SAT: Part 14

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***


Strategies for the critical reading sections on SAT:

Sentence completion:

These questions are always at the beginning of the critical reading section. There are usually as few as five, and as many as nine. They tend to be in order of difficulty so start at #1. You have about one minute to answer each question. Some of the questions have one blank space to be filled in, while others have two.

The best strategy of all is of course, to know all the words! While you are in the process of learning all the words, here are some strategies/techniques:

Of the five multiple choices try to reduce them to three, or even better, two. Here are some suggestions;

a)      Establish whether the missing word (or words if it is a two blank sentence) is positive or negative. In a two blank sentence the possibilities are: positive/positive, negative/negative, positive/negative or negative/positive

b)      Remember that just as in math, two negatives can cancel each other out, to make a positive

c)       Finding the root of a word. Very often this means looking for a French/Spanish/Italian root – one of the great advantages of taking a second language beyond grade 9.

d)      Look at the prefix (one or two letters, e.g., ex/in/un/pro/anti/re located at the beginning of the word) to see how those letters change the meaning of the word.

The more you read, the more you know…

Next week, we’ll look at some specific examples of sentence completion questions from study materials.

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