Reading Passages
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 prose.
On to the practice sets!
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