Verbal vs. Critical Reading
In this corner, the Verbal section! In that corner, the
Critical Reading section! Here’s a table that compares the new Critical
Reading section and the old Verbal section.
||New Critical Reading
|Long Reading Passages
|Short Reading Passages
Memorizing a list of tough vocabulary words and outwitting
analogies went a long way toward getting you a good score on the
old SAT Verbal section. That kind of preparation just
won’t cut it on the new Critical Reading section. Vocabulary still plays
an important role on the test, but its role has changed. Questions
no longer exclusively focus on vocabulary. Questions that do include
tough vocab do so within the context of a sentence or a paragraph
that provides clues to what the word means.
The emphasis on vocabulary in context on
the new SAT makes excellent critical reading skills all the more
important. Learning to read critically can help you answer questions
correctly even when the meaning of certain words escapes you, and
that could vastly improve your score on this section. So, while
you should still study vocab (and we’ve got a list of the toughest
words and techniques on how to remember them at the end of this
section), you should also build up your reading muscles. And there’s
only one way to build up your muscles—exercise.