Tip #23 to Get a Top SAT Critical Reading Score (page 2)

By — McGraw-Hill Professional
Updated on Sep 10, 2011

How to Avoid the Six Most Common Careless Errors on SAT Reading Questions

1. Don't select an answer based on just the first few words; the whole answer should make sense.

2. Be mindful on EXCEPT questions; you are looking for the choice that does not work.

3. Be mindful on LEAST/MOST questions.

4. Find evidence for your answer; be a lawyer.

5. Use evidence from the passage, not your own outside knowledge or opinions.

6. Don't get intimidated.  If it seems hard, look for the evidence, decide what type of question it is, use your Mantras, and remember:  SAT Crasher Rules #45: No excuses. Test like a champion!


Example Problems

Identify each question type, and then choose the best answer.

The following passage examines certain themes of the Disney movie The Little Mermaid.

Among the most important themes in The Little Mermaid are those of questioning conventional thinking, and pursuing a dream. Not only is Ariel, the little mermaid, demonstrating original thought (something that many seem to think she is lacking), but she is rebelling against her speciesist father. When Ariel expresses her love for the human prince, King Trident is furious. When Ariel points out angrily that he does not understand her, or even know the man whom she loves, Trident retorts, "Know him? I don't need to know him! He's a human!" In a very real way Disney is encouraging children to question preconceived ideas that we may have against a certain group.

Disney also teaches children to pursue what they love. We see that Ariel's love for Prince Eric is more important than all else. In turning to the Sea Witch, Ursula, for help, Ariel makes a mistake, but no true hero or heroine is flawless. Ariel puts herself, her family, and all merfolk in danger, but we see that with the help of her prince, she is able to put everything to right.

At the end of the film, when Ursula has forced King Trident to sacrifice his kingdom for his daughter's soul, the Sea Witch rises out of the water, gigantic and terrifying, wearing the king's crown and holding his magic trident. She laughs evilly and declares that she is the ruler of all mermen and women. "So much for true love!" she screams victoriously. Eric, however, succeeds in piloting the prow of his ship straight through her belly, vanquishing her. The moral here is that while we all make mistakes, what is truly important is how we right the wrongs we may do to others.

  1. The author's main point in the passage is that
    1. Ariel should not have been allowed to marry Prince Eric
    2. only Prince Eric truly understood Ariel
    3. Ariel demonstrated original thought
    4. The Little Mermaid teaches children to follow their hearts
    5. Disney movies teach that love is stronger than hate
  2. Why does the author use parentheses around the comment in lines 5 to 6 ?
    1. to indicate a side comment to the reader
    2. to indicate that it is unimportant
    3. to indicate a humorous tone
    4. to indicate a shift in meaning
    5. to indicate a change in tone
  3. In line 7, Ariel's father is called "speciesist" because he
    1. does not know Eric
    2. is king of his people and pursuing what he loves
    3. is rebelling against preconceived notions
    4. is furious
    5. opposes Ariel's love based only on Eric being human
  4. Which fictional plot line would best to illustrate the assertion made in lines 13 to 15 ("Disney is . . . group.")?
    1. A movie about a boy who hates donkeys
    2. A movie about the development of the iPod
    3. A movie about a girl who overcomes her fear of snakes
    4. A movie that details the horrors of war
    5. A movie that documents the travels of a rock band
  5. Ursula's quote in lines 31 and 32 primarily suggests that
    1. the marriage was unacceptable to her
    2. she is mocking true love
    3. she is speciesist
    4. she was hurt in a prior relationship
    5. Eric is her true love
  6. In line 34, "vanquishing" most nearly means
    1. loving
    2. succeeding
    3. besting
    4. squashing
    5. vanishing
  7. The author's attitude toward The Little Mermaid is primarily one of
    1. frustration
    2. stoicism
    3. ambivalence
    4. respect
    5. wonder

Alternate Nostril Breathing and Meditation

Alternate Nostril Breathing

This is a sweet technique. It will calm your mind and help you think clearly. And in yoga circles it's considered a fast track to enlightenment. See, mom was right—SAT prep can fulfill all your dreams!

To try it, sit in a chair or on a cushion. Sit up straight, but relaxed. Bring your right hand to your nose. With your thumb close the right nostril and inhale through the left. Then with your pinky and ring finger, close your left nostril and exhale slowly through the right. A slow relaxed exhalation. Then, still covering the left nostril, inhale through the right.

Then cover the right, and exhale slowly through the left. Inhale left, and switch. Continue alternating between right and left nostrils for several minutes. Slow, relaxed, deep, comfortable breaths.

According to yoga philosophy, you should end this practice with an exhale through the left nostril, and then allow your breathing to return to normal.

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