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SAT Reading tip: Read the entire question and all the answer choices


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When I teach a large class, there will always be a few students who make this mistake. Basically, they skim the question, and then when they get to a good answer, they just stop, without reading the other answer choices. Crazy, right?

So, always read EVERYTHING--from the beginning of the question to the end of (E)

The problem: The correct answer is E, but the student chooses the second best answer choice instead because she assumed that it was correct and didn't feel like reading all the answer choices. Or, the student thinks she has a good idea of what the question is asking and skips over a word or two, causing her to miss the question.

The solution: Read carefully (but as quickly as possible) from the very beginning of the question stem to the very end of the last answer choice.

More information: We see this too frequently: A student is working through a question, let’s say a Critical Reading question, and seems to have a clear understanding of what the question is asking and how to get the right answer. We are happy because the student is doing well, and we wait with happy anticipation for the student to choose the right answer, which in this case happens to be E. As she is working through she eliminates two or three of the wrong answer choices, and then lands on an answer she thinks is correct, which happens to be D, the second best answer choice. Thinking D to be correct, and not feeling like reading E, she chooses D and gets the question wrong. We are crestfallen.

This happens too much, so please be aware of the problem and don't let it happen to you! Read all of the question and all of the answer choices, even if you think you have found the answer in A, B, C, or D.

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