Verbal vs. Critical Reading
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.
Old Verbal New Critical Reading
Analogies YES NO
Sentence Completion YES YES
Long Reading Passages YES YES
Short Reading Passages NO YES
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.
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