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:
Read the introduction and the first passage.
the questions about the first passage only.
the second passage.
the questions about the second passage only.
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.