Reading Passages
Skimming
Before we get to our step methods for passages and items, we’d like to introduce a critical skill that is key to your success when tackling RPs: skimming.
Because of the time constraints, SAT reading is not like normal, everyday reading. Normal, everyday reading means reading every single word of a passage at least once. Skimming means reading only some of the words in a passage and letting your eyes dart across the rest.
We know you know how to read—but do you know how to skim? Many students are never taught this valuable skill. The key to skimming is breaking the habit of reading a passage word for word. This is an essential skill for succeeding on RPs, because it leads to significant time savings. It is one of several essential strategies you’ll need to maximize your score.
Here’s how you do it:
  • Read only the first and last sentences in paragraphs.
  • Circle or underline signpost words or key terms. Terms deemed as “key” will vary from reader to reader, but the idea is to identify some important terms, as well as those important signpost words.
  • Use your pencil to help you break the habit of reading every word. Move the tip of your pencil across the lines of text quickly enough to make it impossible for you to read every word. This forces you to skip over some words and phrases, which means you are actually skimming.
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