Challenged to a Dual (Passage)
Challenged to a Dual (Passage)
The new SAT contains one dual passage, which is SAT-speak for two separate passages that are somehow related. When you get to the dual passage, here’s what you’ll see:
  • Italicized introduction
  • Passage 1
  • Passage 2
  • Questions on passage 1
  • Questions on passage 2
  • Questions that ask you to relate the two passages
The secret to dual passages is: Do not follow this order. Instead, treat each passage separately, with the four-step method we just showed you. That results in the following five-step method for dual RPs:
  1. Read the introduction and the first passage.
  2. Answer the questions about the first passage only.
  3. Read the second passage.
  4. Answer the questions about the second passage only.
  5. Answer the questions that address both passages together.
Treating the passages separately makes sense for a number of reasons. First, it means that you’ll be answering the questions on a particular passage when that passage is freshest in your mind. That will save you time, since you won’t have to jump back and forth between questions and passages. Second, it means that you won’t get so caught up looking for relationships between the two passages that you’ll lose focus on the individual passages. By the time you’ve dealt with the two passages individually, you’ll have naturally built up a strong enough understanding of each passage to be able to answer the questions that ask you to relate the two passages.
These “relating” passages questions usually ask you to compare a variety of aspects of the two passages, such as the main idea of the two passages, individual arguments in each passage, and the tones of each passage. Sometimes questions relating two passages get a bit more creative by asking you to predict how the author of one passage might think about information presented in the other passage.
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