Tip #22 to Get a Top SAT Critical Reading Score (page 3)
This question type asks, Which of the following ideas or situations is most like (or unlike) the one from the passage? This type throws students because the choices are not details from the passage. They are new details that exemplify something from the passage, and we want the one that satisfies the question.
Kids get confused by these and say, "Oh, I don't recognize these choices, I must have missed this; I'll just skip this one." But, with our strategies you won't miss anything. Stay relaxed and focused and confident. And when you see this type of question, just recognize it as a "parallel" question and know that the choices may not be from the passage. Since you know to expect it, you'll recognize it and get it right.
The media makes you think that you have to be skinny or buff. The media makes you think that you have to get rich and own lots of things. But you don't. I see a whole generation; no, I see generations working as slaves to consumption. Working, working too hard to buy disposable things they're told they need. Go sit by a tree in a calm place for two hours, maybe by a stream. You'll see what I mean. It's free and it's more joy than that new designer watch can possibly give you.
Why is everyone depressed? Their latte is not making them happy. Two and a half hours of TV per day is not satisfying. People are confused by TV; their expectations of life get skewed. No, there's a void. Relax, open, and let it fill up.
- Which of the following individuals best exemplifies the narrator's assertion in lines 1 to 3 ("The media . . . things.")?
- A man who saves up to buy a new designer suit
- A man who hates his job and quits
- A man who finds a job he loves
- A slave in chains
- A middle child in a large family
- Which of the following is the narrator likely to do next?
- Teach more about designer watches
- Give Latin names for specific trees
- Describe more about how individuals can take action to effect change
- Describe jobs that are available
- Enlist for military service
- Which of the following, if true, would LEAST undermine the assertion in lines 13 to 15 ("Two and . . . skewed.")?
- Most people do not try to model what they see on television.
- Most people do not realize that what they see on television is unreal.
- Most people watch far less than 2.5 hours of television per day.
- A study showed that most people are very minimally affected by the values expressed on television.
- Most people realize that television is fantasy.
- (Skill 18) The general tone of the passage can best be described as
- humorous contempt
- worried vexation
- relieved acknowledgment
- begrudging empathy
- muted anger
Special Section: How to Read
Sometimes SAT passages are obscenely long and kids panic, "I can't do it! It'll take too long. It'll kill me." Relax, and remember your skills. Read the passage, looking for main idea and tone. Don't memorize details. Don't reread a confusing line. Don't reread if you spaced out and missed a sentence or two. There's no single sentence or even paragraph that you need to get the main idea and tone. As for details, you'll reread the lines later anyway.
All this will save you time and energy. And remember my story. When I was 16 years old and preparing for the SAT, I did well in school, but didn't read much. I was terrified. Then one day I was like "Wait, this is ridiculous, how long can it take?" So I took out a stopwatch and timed myself. It took 2.5 minutes! Try it, and you'll see. Even for a slow reader, the passage takes only a few minutes, especially if you use your skills.
So read the following huge passage. Read quickly, but stay relaxed. Pretend you love the topic. As you read, ask yourself, What are the main idea and tone? Use all the Skills. Time yourself. You'll see that reading even a ridiculously long passage takes only a few minutes. And remember that a passage this long would be the main passage of the section, so you'd have the rest of your time just to answer the questions.
Directions: Read the absurdly long passage on the next page. Time yourself. If it takes you over 5 minutes, review the Skills above and reread the passage. Anyone can read quickly; remember, you are not reading to memorize details, just to get the gist. You'll see that even a disgustingly long SAT passage takes only a few minutes to read. When it takes you under 5 minutes, you're ready.
(If you absolutely cannot do it in under 5 minutes, no problem, here's your strategy: read for 4 minutes and stop. That'll be enough for you to get some main idea and tone info, without spending too much time. But you have to practice watching the clock and knowing when it's been 4 minutes.)
This passage describing a certain type of spider was written in 2006.
The Brown Recluse spider is a potentially dangerous species that inhabits the southeastern part of the United States. A bite from the Brown Recluse can cause a severe wound. As a result, the spiders cause much fear; however, in reality, Brown Recluse spiders cause few grave injuries to humans, and you are more likely to get struck by lightning than critically hurt by a Brown Recluse spider.
Including its legs, the Recluse spider is roughly the size of a quarter. Females have a slightly larger body than the males, however the males make up for this with longer legs—better for hunting. The only way for an everyday person (not a trained scientist) to identify this spider is the darker brown fiddle-shaped marking on the back of the abdomen. This is how they acquired their nickname Fiddler Spider.
The Recluse spider lives about two years, taking about a year to fully mature, molting clear bridal exoskeletons several times on their way to adulthood. The females lay their eggs in white silky sacks, each containing roughly forty spider-larva. A female can lay several sacks a season, sometimes even producing up to 300 individual eggs. The mother remains in her web to guard the eggs until the spiderlings emerge. During this period of twenty to thirty days, the mother doesn't eat or drink, not letting her attention waver at all from her offspring.
The spiderlings abandon the web immediately after they hatch; they leave to find their secluded hideaways and to give their mother back her preferred solitary life. The young spiders enter the world as immature lentil-sized versions of their parents. Their only major defense is their freakish ability to fast for up to six months without food or water—their poison hasn't even peaked in its potency. Most of them will die on their eleven-month journey to adulthood. Come next year the small handful of time-tested troopers will be mature in time to take part in breeding season. This is most likely their first of two breedings.
The Brown Recluse spider uses its web as a private day lodging. They do not use it as a hunting palate like most spiders do. Their web is also unusual in that it doesn't have a pleasing symmetrical spiral pattern of tightly woven clean threads. On the contrary it is rough, lacking order, comprised of loose strands of off-yellow silk sagging in all directions. The web seems to be of little use to these spiders and the project of building can even be abandoned if a soft nesting place, such as stored linens or clothes, is available.
The spiders tend to leave their lone retreats at sundown to hunt for insects. They kill their prey by initially using their legs to trap the insect and then injecting their venom to finish the job. Although they can hunt and have evolved venom to do so, their weak physical constitution renders hunting second to scavenging. Their legs fall off easily, and if a spider is not quick enough to inject the venom, it is possible for the prey to shred it to pieces. This often happens with crickets. Changing habitats have also fostered their growing love of dead insects. With more and more Recluses living in human environments, dried out bugs are all around them and easily picked up during the night when the inhabitants are sleeping.
The spiders tend to spin their webs in dark reclusive sheltered areas, and consequently manmade buildings meet their needs perfectly. They can be invasive pests, monopolizing attics, barns, cellars, and crawl spaces with their ugly webs. Their need for private spaces quickly disperses a colony throughout a building.
In North America the Brown Recluse spider ranks with the rattlesnake, black widow, cougar, and grizzly in its threat to people. Yet, problematic injuries actually rarely happen. In fact, you are more likely to croak in your bathtub than from a bite from a Brown Recluse spider. However I don't buy it, I'm the first to avoid grizzly bear territory, and next time I go South, I plan on sleeping in a body bag with microscopic breathing holes.
- A The lines say that the media makes people think they have to be fit and wealthy and to own things. Use the process of elimination. Choice A fits this situation best.
- C The passage describes a situation that the writer finds unacceptable. He or she riles up readers and ends with an alternative. Likely, next the writer will give more info about the alternative. You can also use the process of elimination; certain other answer choices use words from the passage, but they do not fit the nature of the passage.
- B Use the process of elimination and remember that you are looking for the one that least undermines the assertion that 2.5 hours of TV per day is not making people happy and that it confuses people by skewing their expectations of life. What would detract least? Basically, an example that supports that idea, rather than refutes it. Anything opposite would disprove or detract and not be the answer. So the best answer is choice B. Choice B supports the idea that people believe the messages they see on TV. All other answers do not support the assertion and therefore detract more from it.
- E The tone of a passage is expressed in the words and punctuation. This passage is pointing out problems with media and television in society. The author is angry, but controls the anger in expressing his or her point. You can also use the process of elimination. None of the other choices work. The author is not laughing, confused, relieved, or begrudging.
Go to: Tip #23
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