Other Ways to Prepare
If you are not a reader, become one. Reading high-quality
prose and learning by example is one of the most important (and
pleasant!) ways to become a good writer. Read literary fiction and
magazines or newspapers with high-quality writing, such as the New
York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Scientific
American, Harper’s, the Atlantic
Monthly, the Nation, and the Economist. Many
of these publications are available for free on the Internet. The
literary fiction you’re reading in school will also help prepare
you for fiction RPs.
Keep in mind that almost all fiction passages are from
twentieth-century literature, although some excerpts may be taken
from the late nineteenth century. While reading Shakespeare is in
general a very good idea, it won’t match the type of fiction you’ll
most likely see on the SAT. George Orwell or Ernest Hemingway would
be a better bet. Furthermore, the fiction is conventional, not experimental.
If you’d like to tackle some James Joyce, you’ll find far more SAT-relevant
prose in his short-story collection Dubliners than
in his later experimental works Ulysses and Finnegans
Wake. RPs aren’t a test of esoteric literature or literary
criticism. They’re a test of your ability to comprehend conventional
On to the practice sets!