Saturday, March 30, 2013

Just don't do it

There is a SAT Critical Reading strategy that says a test taker does not need to read the passage.

It works. BUT - please read the caveat - however, it takes a lot of training and is not worth it for the average student.

After 20 years (on and off) of test prep, I can answer many of the questions on the critical reading sections of the SAT without ever glancing at the passage. I have not done a thorough statistical analysis of the reading questions. And now that I know Erica Meltzer, I don't have to.

Caveat #2:  If I was actually taking the test, I would go back to the passage and check the answers that I guessed.

Caveat #3: If I was actually taking the test, I would actually read the passage. It is one thing to do it in a coffee shop, it is entirely different to do it on game day.

I just answer the test questions without reading for fun. I guess at the structure of the answer choices and listen for the common SAT style.

For example, on the January QAS, there was a question on the "Ethnic Passage" that had the answer, "compare food with culture."  Loved it - knew it was the answer.  My student said, "I hate you." We both laughed as I went on to get all of the other ethnic questions correct.

What's the lesson? Swiftly read the passage and then re-read based on the answer choices. Lot's more to follow.