My friends and I have been printing out all your ideas for taking the SAT test, and we really appreciate them. I was wondering, since there's only a few days between now and the test (wait, NOT a few -- more like 1 1/2 to 2 days!), and we still have a lot of schoolwork to do, I was wondering if you could post some SAT TIPS that are really short and easy to remember so we can read them fast and know them almost right away. Is that even possible?
For the Reading Comprehension section:
- There's a literary technique that is not always expressly taught, often not getting much time if any in language arts classes until a student notices its use in one of the assigned reading books and asks about it in class. YET, it is one of those things that can be -- and has been -- on a reading passage, and occasionally it is used in more than one passage on a single SAT reading section.
IT'S THIS: The 'single quote'.
But wait! I realize that most students have seen the single quote and used it and feel they already know it... BUT these single quotes can be used in different ways and the way I'm thinking of for SAT-study-purposes is probably the least familiar and trickiest of the ways.
So, besides being used for a quotation within a quotation, and besides the way they are used instead of our usual double quotes in books published in Great Britain, the SINGLE QUOTES CAN BE USED BY THE AUTHOR OF A PASSAGE TO COMMUNICATE THAT HE/SHE WANTS TO MAKE IT CLEAR THAT THE MEANING OR USE OF TERM WITHIN IS NOT NECESSARILY IN LINE WITH THE OPINION OF THE AUTHOR. IN FACT, VERY OFTEN THE AUTHOR IS DRAWING ATTENTION TO WHAT HE FEELS IS THE IRONY OF THE WORDS USED.
Example: Mrs. Bleech just gave birth to a baby boy and every evening spends close to an hour calling people to describe whatever new feat her 'little genius' managed that day.
NOTE: The author is not convinced that the new mother's child is a genius – 'little' or otherwise.
2. When a question following a reading passage refers you back to a specific point in the passage (such as "by using the word 'monster' in line 18, the author most likely means...")
...when they do this, WAIT and take a breath. Before you go back and locate the item in the place they've sent you, take another look at the question and answer choices. Although they tend to send you back so that you'll take a moment to consider the word in its context at that location, as a test-taker you may NOT need to study it there to figure out the answer. While it is true that they can be asking about a word that has different meanings which depend upon how and where the word is used, often they are not. Before going back to wherever they happen to be sending you, take a good look at the question, think of just one meaning that you know for the word they are obsessing over, and then check out the choices. You might luck out and find that no matter what, the word could only mean one thing, and that thing is equivalent to one of the answer choices. THEN go back and see if they've twisted the world up worse than one should and found a way to make one of the other answer choices valid. Well, then you're on your own in the SAT. BUT very often this method will at least lead to eliminating the absurd and useless answer choices so that you have the luxury of selecting from just two choices. This may take you an hour of practice between now and the test, but I bet that if you are like most people in any way, then you will find that hour and be glad you did!3. Here is today's third and last 'quickie', and it too is for the reading section:
3. BE AWARE OF THE POWER OF TRANSITION WORDS; AUTHORS OFTEN USE THEM TO SCULPT PILES OF WORDS THEY'VE WRITTEN INTO MEANINGFUL ARGUMENTS OR ENGAGING TALES. MOST IMPORTANTLY FOR TEST-TAKING HERE IS THE FACT THAT A SINGLE WORD (LIKE A TRANSITION WORD) CAN COMPLETELY INVERT A PARAGRAPH'S MEANING, SO IF YOU MISS THE WORD OR OVERLOOK ITS IMPORTANCE, YOU ARE LIKELY TO MISUNDERSTAND A CHUNK OR MORE OF THE PASSAGE'S INTENT.
There are many transition words and phrases, but for now a small and definitely incomplete group should give you the idea:
'In spite of...'
'Is irrelevant to...'
'Does not outweigh the...'
'But that is no longer the way she...'
Bobby treats his puppy as though the dog were a king, he waters his garden with equal attention to each plant and lovingly watches them grow, and makes sure that the large trees are protected in the winter so they will not suffer sad endings to older branches. Still, BOBBY is the only member of the neighborhood who frightens the women old enough to recall his unexplained behavior at that infamous company barbecue...
The first part of the paragraph makes Bobby seem like a terrific nature-loving guy.
THEN comes the transition word STILL. And then we see that after all is said and done, he is 'bad'.
NOTE: The part of the paragraph before the transition word could have been fifty sentences long! That many details could convince almost anyone of the character's goodness, especially if the transition word was only followed by a few short words. BEWARE!
Lastly, NOTE: A transition word need not be in the middle of a paragraph; it can appear (or be hidden) just about anywhere in a paragraph or passage.
EXAMPLE: "While it is true that Joey is intelligent, athletic, caring, handsome and healthy, anyone thinking about having a relationship with him should be informed that..."
In this case, the word 'while' is, of course, the transition word setting up the whole paragraph (from its beginning) to be transitioned to a different angle on the character than it takes at the start.
((AND CIRCLE ANY TRANSITION WORDS YOU SPOT WHILE READING DURING THE TEST!!))
Hope this helps!