Tag Archives: passages

Passages drawn from the 18th, 19th, and even early 20th centuries tend to stop most modern high schoolers in their tracks. How can you handle unfamiliar phrasing, esoteric vocabulary, and elaborate sentence structure? We’ll show you how! Learn how to unlock the essential meanings of passages drawn from earlier periods quickly and accurately enough to earn major points on the SAT and ACT Reading sections.   This online seminar is part of our June Seminar Series. The fee is $25 for this program or $99 for as many of the June seminars as you like.   Advance registration is required. Register through our Student Information Form and specify The June Archaic Reading Passages seminar. We will reply to registrants by email with the invitation to this Zoom seminar.   ABOUT YOUR HOST: Patty Camloh, who heads our Syracuse-area prep programs, uses her background in engineering and education to help students achieve…

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Passage-based reading skills are incredibly important on admissions tests. Your ability to engage with unfamiliar complex tests and extract important information under timed conditions will have a big impact on your SAT score and an even bigger one on your ACT score. As the old RIF commercials used to preach, reading is fundamental. Most strategic guides to reading on standardized tests focus on the primacy of THESIS. Basically, every passage–whether social studies, natural science, or humanities–is written to make one important point. Each of these passages focus on a specific topic and readers must understand exactly what the author wrote the passage to say about that topic. Test takers who understand topic (what the passage is about), thesis (what the passage says about the topic), and perspective (how the author feels about the topic) are positioned to pick up most or all of the points on the passage. This assumes,…

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Reading on the SAT and ACT can be tough. No one denies how challenging a battery of unfamiliar passages on a wide array of topics and styles under stressful timed conditions can be. Yet, despite the sheer difficulty of the task at hand, test takers routinely ignore information expressly provided to make passages easier to understand. Why? Every Reading passage on the SAT and ACT includes some introductory information that spells out, at the very least, the author, title, and date of publication of the original source of the passage. Often, this sourcing includes much more that is relevant to the passage and its questions. In fact, the value of the sourcing has been increasing over time, which may be related to the expanded focus on sourcing inspired by Common Core. The 2012 Revised Publishers’ Criteria for the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts and Literacy, Grades 3–12…

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Most influential standardized exams assess comprehensive reading and reasoning skills. Even the MCAT, the entrance exam for medical school, evaluates Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills along with the expected biology, chemistry, and physics. The excerpts of text most exams use to evaluate reading, grammar, and even science reasoning skills are typically called passages. Yet, after decades of helping students master these tests, I’ve never seen a good explanation of what a passage actually is. Technically, a passage is simply a portion or section of a written work, either fiction or non-fiction. Some hold that a passage can be as short as a sentence, but most consist of at least one paragraph and usually several. One iteration of SAT Passage-based Reading included both Short Passages of 1-2 paragraphs and Long Passages of 4-9 paragraphs. These days, most test passages, at least at the high school level, come in at what is…

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