Lesson 4: About the Critical Reading Section
Approaches… • Consider related words, familiar sayings and phrases, roots, prefixes, and suffixes. • Work on sentence completion questions first. • Mark your test booklet. • Remember that the difficulty of sentence completion questions increases as you move through a question set. • Use the process of elimination.
Consider related words, familiar sayings and phrases, roots, prefixes, and suffixes. • If you don’t know what a word means right away, stop for a moment. • Have you ever heard or seen a word that may be related to it? You can get help from common sayings and phrases. • If you don't know a word but are familiar with a phrase that uses it, you might be able to figure out the word. • For instance, you may not immediately remember what the words ovation and annul mean. But you probably would recognize them in the phrases “a standing ovation” and “annul a marriage.” • If you can recall a phrase or saying in which a word is used, you may be able to figure out what it means in another context.
Work on sentence completion questions first. • About one-third of the critical reading questions are sentence completions. Work on these first in any section that includes both types of critical reading questions. • The sentence completion questions take less time to finish than the passage-based reading questions. But remember to save enough time to read the passages.
Mark your test booklet. • As you work on one of the critical reading test sections, you may want to use the following three-step approach: Begin with the first set of sentence completions. Answer as many questions as you can. In your test booklet, mark each question you don’t answer so that you can easily go back to it. • After moving through the first set, go back and take a quick glance at the questions you marked. Answer the ones you can without spending a lot of time on any one question. • Then move on to the passage-based reading questions.
Remember that the difficulty of sentence completion questions increases as you move through a question set. • When these questions become difficult to answer, give the rest of them a quick read before you skip ahead to the passage-based reading questions. • All sentence completion questions are based in part on your knowledge of vocabulary. It doesn’t take long to read these questions, and you may pick up a correct answer or two. • You may see a word that you know that might improve your chances of answering the question correctly.
Use the process of elimination. • If you have time to go back to some of the difficult questions that you skipped, try eliminating choices you know are wrong. (This is a good approach for the entire test.) • Sometimes you can get to the correct answer that way. If not, eliminating choices will at least allow you to make educated guesses.