The SAT® Exam: Not Your Typical Reading and Writing Passages


Whaaaaaat?”

Test-takers often assume that all of the reading passages they will come across in a standardized test, like the SAT® Exam, will be taken from fictional literature. That is not the case. The SAT® Exam includes a wide variety of reading passages, including expository, informational, argumentative, and some that have accompanying charts, graphs, or images—all sorts of writing genres. And they may cover topics or subjects with which you may either be familiar or unfamiliar. This means that you must have the skills to be able to read a variety of text types with a critical eye. If you practice only with one type of text, you may not know how to tackle the other types found on the SAT® Exam.

Passages in the Writing and Language Section

The SAT® exam Writing and Language section asks you to take on the role of an editor and evaluate the words of others. This means you must be able to read critically and determine the best way to improve the text in terms of organization, diction, or expression. You may be asked which answer choice “best maintains the sentence pattern already established in the paragraph” and the paragraph is about modern aviation. The question may ask, “Which choice completes the sentence with accurate data based on the graph?”, which means you not only have to be able to understand the context of the passage, but also access the information on the graph. No fictional passages are used in this section. Passage types are Career and Humanities, History and Social Studies, and Science.

Passages in the Reading Section

The Reading section assesses your ability to find supporting evidence (or determine what evidence is missing), determine the relationship between different types of passages or between a passage and a graphic, and identify how effectively authors use evidence and language to support their claims. Questions in this section may ask which claim in the text is supported by the accompanying chart or ask you to make an inference regarding the passage and graphic about the effect of magnetic fields on newly hatched loggerhead turtles. The context and subject of the passages is varied, and you have to be ready to tackle whatever passage type and topic is tossed your way. In the Reading section, passages are taken from the areas of History and Social Science, Literature, and Science.

How We Can Help

Union Test Prep allows you to practice with a variety of passage types because we divide the sections of the SAT® Exam differently than most practice sites. While many sites give you practice with Reading questions and Writing and Language questions, UTP breaks that down further to incorporate questions about the specific passage types you will see in the Reading and Writing sections of the SAT® Exam. This lets you to focus your test preparation on just the types of passages that you may find more challenging—the ones that give you trouble.

So, know what kinds of passages to expect and practice working with all of them before test day. You’ll be much more prepared to deal with the SAT® exam!

SAT exam Reading and Writing Sections



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