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SAT Truth: It’s a Reading Test

Let’s face it: the SAT is reading test. While there are three sections (Math, Writing and Critical Reading), the truth is that the SAT primarily assesses your ability to read. 

Remember, the SAT is designed to predict your college performance. Most college classes require lots of reading, hence the focus of reading on the SAT.

Consider the following: there are 170 total questions on the SAT (not including the Essay question) of which there are 67 Critical Reading questions, 54 Math questions and 49 Writing questions. So which section has the most questions? Critical Reading! 

But let’s dig deeper: of the 67 questions on Critical Reading, 48 of them are Passage-Based Reading questions. In other words, 48 point-scoring opportunities out of 170 total opportunities assess your reading comprehension. Put differently, almost 30% of the entire test assesses your ability to read a passage and comprehend it. 

But wait, there’s more. Even the Math and Writing questions require you to both read and comprehend. In fact, many students fail to correctly answer certain questions correctly simply because they do not read and comprehend the question. 

For example, try this problem:

If x + 1 = 3, what is 2x? 

A) 2

B) 3

C) 4

D) 5

E) 6

This should be an easy problem for most students. Solving the equation for x gives you a result of 2. So A is the correct answer, right? Wrong! If you do not read the question entirely, you miss the fact that you need to find the answer to 2x, in other words, 4. Thus, C is the correct answer. 

So even SAT math problems require excellent reading comprehension. Same goes for the writing section. All told, the SAT is primarily a reading test. 

For this reason, the best way to improve your SAT score is to, you guessed it, READ! Learn more SAT and ACT tips from CROSSWALK, the Monterey Peninsula’s local resource for private tutoring, SAT or ACT Boot Camps and other test preparation. 

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