Tag Archives: reading

Every SAT Reading section includes one passage or a pair of passages from what can be considered a historical document. Sometimes, the passage will be an excerpt from a U.S. founding document like the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, or the Federalist Papers. Other times, the test will feature an influential text or speech excerpt from the Great Global Conversation on equality, rights, and the nature of civic life. For many obvious reasons, students struggle with these passages. Not only are they usually archaic but they demand a clear understanding of persuasive writing and argumentation. Find out in this seminar how to understand and excel on even the toughest SAT historical documents passages!   This online seminar is part of our August Seminar Series. The fee is $25 for this program or $99 for as many of the month’s seminars as you like.   Advance registration is required.…

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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 August Seminar Series. The fee is $25 for this program or $99 for as many of the month’s seminars as you like.   Advance registration is required. Register through our Student Information Form and specify the August Archaic Reading Passages seminar. We will reply to registrants by email with the invitation to this Zoom seminar.   ABOUT YOUR TEACHER: Patty Camloh, who heads our Syracuse-area prep programs, uses her background in engineering and education to help students achieve…

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Students often come to us with expressed fear of the math and English sections, and we usually start with one of those sections first because there is so much content we can cover that will quickly lead to higher scores. The Reading section of the tests, however, remains elusive, and is often the hardest section to make progress in. The best thing a student can do to improve their reading comprehension for the tests is read more–read widely, read often, read actively–and seek to understand what the text is saying, ideally by looking up vocabulary that is unfamiliar. Sustained reading increases the skills tested in the Reading section over time, but many students are scrambling to prepare for the SAT and ACT only a month or two before the exam date. So, when faced with a time crunch, what can we do to increase a student’s score in Reading? One…

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Though all students know it, not too many love it: the dreaded persuasive essay. What student hasn’t been compelled to learn the techniques of argumentation, incorporating claim, evidence, and reasoning, to craft a written or spoken persuasion piece? Happily, students can use these mandatory learning experiences in persuasive writing to their advantage in understanding SAT historical passages. The College Board explains how the U.S. Founding Documents and the Great Global Conversation, added in the last major test revision, evaluates understanding of classic rhetoric in action: “Authors, speakers, and thinkers from the United States and around the world… have broadened and deepened the conversation around such vital matters as freedom, justice, and human dignity.” Students will encounter passages from great leaders who, over time, have addressed vital issues in the areas of human rights, equality, government, citizenship, and the improvement of society. These leaders wrote not merely to inform but to…

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After over 25 years of trying to explain what complex standardized instruments like the SAT or ACT are meant to test, I still find the general explanation of “math, verbal, and test taking skills” woefully inadequate. Just as frustrating is the disconnect between the way these skills are tests in school as opposed to the exams themselves. Why is SAT math, for example, so different from school math, even though the discrete subject matter overlaps entirely? A recent comment from deep thinker Shane Parrish of Farnam Street helped me wrap my head around why the conventional view of what is tested fails to describe how multifarious and sophisticated those skills are: We tend to think of meta skills as the skill. For example, we default to thinking that reading is a skill. But there is really no skill called reading. Reading is the meta-skill that results when you alloy other…

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While most people focus on the big numbers on the ACT score report–section scores and Composite–there’s more to learn by digging deeper. ACT included three reporting categories each for English, reading, and science, as well as eight reporting categories for mathematics. These subscores provide more granular insight into test performance by sorting test questions into smaller categories that can be used to evaluate relative strength in specific subject areas. Why don’t we spend much time on ACT Reporting Categories? Basically, these subscores are worthless from an admissions perspective; colleges don’t care about them. However, Reporting Categories have value in terms of identifying key skills test takers should master for ACT success. In this, ACT Reading Reporting Categories can be particularly helpful. The ACT Reporting Category Interpretation Guide provides valuable insight into all of the subscores on the test. The Reading Reporting Categories fall into three large proficiencies: KEY IDEAS AND…

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