RP sets consist of two elements: passages
and items. Therefore, we must learn how to handle the passages and
the items separately. We’ll use a long nonfiction RP to introduce
the key methods you’ll want to use for tackling each element. Then
we’ll turn to short RPs, paired RPs, and fiction RPs to show you
how to modify the methods to handle these “special cases.”
Generally, you’ll want to deal with the passage before
you look at the items. As you read through the next sections on
how to tackle the passage, keep in mind the major types of items
you’ll be asked to answer:
- Recognizing the major features of an RP: topic,
main idea, purpose, tone, theme, and logic.
- Recognizing the use of rhetorical devices and
literary techniques, including: hyperbole, repetition, imagery
and figurative language, sound patterns, rhetorical questions, idioms
and clichés, irony, foreshadowing,
- Decoding unfamiliar words from context.
- Finding informational details (facts) in the passage.
- Identifying cause and effect and follow the logic of arguments.
- Comparing and contrasting arguments.