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How do SAT Winners Improve their Reading skills?

    Sat Winners generally have very good Reading Skills. These skills are invaluable not only for the
    Reading Comprehension section of the SAT, but also other sections like Sentence completion
    and even maths.

    They use certain reading techniques that greatly increase their comprehension and reduce the
    time required to learn new subjects.

    You must remember that quick tips like skimming the passage etc will simply not work unless
    you are an effective reader.

    These quick tips have to be used in conjunction with an effective way of reading.

    One of the most  effective way of reading is the SQ3R method:


    Scanning provides a rapid overview. Many well written books follow logical outlines that can
    orient the reader to the subject matter.

    The outline might follow this pattern:

    Table of Contents.
    Main Introduction and conclusion.
    Chapter 1.
    Chapter 2.
    Chapter 3.

    Questioning is a natural, instinctive, second step that most winners follow. In the scanning
    process, certain questions naturally arise.
    These should be noted in a short list of questions to be answered through reading. The
    questioning procedure helps the reader stay focused.

    Reading occurs very rapidly if a systematic plan is followed:

    First, determine the main idea from the title, the first paragraph, and the last paragraph.

    Second, determine if a large subject is divided into smaller subjects with some outlining

    Next, follow the title, introduction, body, conclusion rule to find the main idea of each smaller
    section. Each smaller section can then be scanned for keywords. Keyword recognition signals
    the reader to pay closer attention for critical definitions and ideas that follow.

    Finally, review as often as necessary to keep focused. Outlining and note taking often help.

    Once you start to become an effective reader, you will find that you are also becoming a faster

    Together with the SQ3R method, if you use the tactical reading tips below, you will find yourself
    on the way to becoming Critical Reading Winner!

    Winning Tips to increase your reading speed

    As we read, our eyes move along the line in a series of jerky movements, stopping at each
    word. Fast readers usually taken in 3-4 words in each movement that their eye makes.

    The more words you can take in with each movement of the eye, teh faster your reading will

 Try to avoid focusing on every word, but rather look at groups of 2 to 3 words.

    e.g. the above sentence could be read as:

    Try to avoid / focusing on every work/but / rather look at / groups of 2 to 3 words.

 If you find yourself moving your lips when reading, force yourself to read faster by following the
first point above so that you can no longer move your lips.

 Read more! 15 minutes a day of reading an average size novel equals 18 books a year
    at an average reading speed!

 Determine your purpose before reading. If you only need main ideas, then allow yourself
    to skim the material. Don't feel you must read very word.

 Spend a few minutes a day reading at a faster than comfortable rate (about 2 to 3 times
    faster than your normal speed). Use your hand or an index card to guide your eyes down
    the page. Then time yourself reading a few pages at your normal speed. You'll find that
    often your normal reading speed will increase after your skimming practice.

 If you have poor concentration when reading, practice reading for only 5 - 10 minutes at a
    time and gradually increase this time.

 There are several books on increasing reading speed available in most bookstores. If
    you are serious about increasing your rate you may want to work systematically through one
    of these books.

    You can also look at the Ways of the SAT Winners for more quick tips to improving your
    Critical Reading.

    To give you some quick practice on your newly learned reading skills, try the passage
    below. This is a typical long reading comprehension passage that you might find in the
    actual SAT.

    Read this passage and answer the questions that follow.
    SAT Winners are able to read the passage and answer the questions in roughly 12-15
    minutes, and get 5-6 question correct.

    There are two theories that have often been used to explain ancient and modern tragedy.
    Neither quite explains the complexity of the tragic process or the tragic hero, but each explains
    important elements of tragedy, and, because their conclusions are contradictory, they represent
    extreme views.

    The first theory states that all tragedy exhibits the workings S of external fate. Of course, the
    overwhelming majority of tragedies do leave us with a sense of the supremacy of impersonal
    power and of the limitation of human effort. But this theory of tragedy is an oversimplification,
    primarily because it confuses the tragic condition with the tragic process: the theory does not
    acknowledge that fate, in a tragedy, normally becomes external to the hero only after the tragic
    process has been set in motion. Fate, as conceived in ancient Greek. tragedy, is the internal
    balancing condition of life. It appears as external only after it has been violated, just as justice is
    an internal quality of an honest person, but the external antagonist of the criminal. Secondarily,
    this theory of tragedy does not distinguish tragedy from irony. Irony does not need an
    exceptional central figure: as a rule, the more ignoble the hero the sharper the irony, when irony
    alone is the objective. It is heroism that creates the splendor and exhilaration that is unique to
    tragedy. The tragic hero normally has an extraordinary, often a nearly divine, destiny almost
    within grasp, and the glory of the original destiny never quite fades out of the tragedy.

    The second theory of tragedy states that the act that sets the tragic process in motion must be
    primarily a violation of normal law, whether human or divine; in short, that the tragic hero must
    have a flaw that has an essential connection with sin. Again it is true that the great majority of
    tragic heroes do possess hubris, or a proud and passionate mind that seems to make the hero’
    s downfall morally explicable. But such hubris is only the precipitating agent of catastrophe, just
    as in comedy the cause )f the happy ending is usually some act of humility often performed by a
    noble character who is meanly disguised.

    This theory of tragedy as morally explicable runs into the question of whether an innocent
    sufferer in a tragedy, such as Iphigenia, or Socrates in Plato Apology, is a tragic figure. They
    are, of course, even though it is not very easy to find crucial moral flaws in them. Cordelia shows
    sincerity and high spirit in refusing to flatter her faber, and Cordelia is 30 hanged. Tragedy, in
    short, is ambiguous and cannot be reduced to the opposition between human effort. and
    external fate, just as it cannot be reduced to the opposition between good and evil.

    1. The primary purpose of the passage is. to
    A)        compare and criticize two theories of tragedy.
    B)        develop a new theory of tragedy.
    C)        summarize the thematic content of tragedy.
    D)        reject one theory of tragedy and offer another theory in its place.
    E)        distinguish between tragedy and iron

    2. The author states that the theories discussed in the passage “represent extreme views”
    because their conclusions are

    (A) unpopular                (B) complex         (C) paradoxical
    (D) contradictory.        (E) imaginative

    3. Which of the following comparisons of the tragic with the ironic hero is best supported by
    information contained in the’ passage?

    A) A tragic hero’s fate is an external condition, but an ironic hero’s fate is an internal one.
    B) A tragic hero must be controlled by fate, but an ironic hero cannot be.
    C) A tragic hero’s moral flaw surprises the, audience, but an ironic hero’s sin does not.
    D) A tragic hero and an ironic hero cannot both be virtuous figures in the same tragedy.
    E) A tragic hero is usually extraordinary, but an ironic hero may be cowardly or even villainous.

    4. The author contrasts an honest person and a criminal primarily in order to

    A) prove that fate cannot be external to the tragic hero.
    B) establish a criterion that allows a distinction to be made between irony and tragedy.
    C) develop the distinction between the tragic condition and the tragic process.
    D) introduce the concept of sin as the cause of tragic action.
    E) argue that the theme of omnipotent external fate is shared by comedy and tragedy.

    5. According to the. author, Cordellia is an example of a figure who

    A) transcended both the laws of ‘fate and the laws of society.
    B) sinned, but whose sin did not set the tragic process in motion.
    C) disobeyed a moral law, but was not punished for doing so.
    D) submitted willingly to fate, even though her submission caused her death.
    E) did not set the tragic process in motion, but is still a tragic figure.

    6. In the author’s opinion, an act of humility in comedy is most analogous to

    A) a catastrophe in tragedy.
    B) an ironic action in tragedy.
    C) a tragic hero’s pride and passion
    D) a tragic hero’s aversion to sin.
    E) a tragic hero’s pursuit of an unusual destiny.


    1. The passage juxtaposes two contradictory theories of tragedy. See the first sentence of
    para 1. Hence, (A).

    2. No tenable middle ground can be sought when two disparate theories are juxtaposed. Refer
    para 1. Hence, (D).

    3. See the last 3 sentences of paragraph 2. It clearly states that ‘irony’ does not need an
    exceptional character. It is heroism that qualifies tragedy. Hence, (E).

    4. The argument laid forth in sentences 2 - 8.of paragraph 2, is supported by this illustration.
    Hence, (C).

    5. Cordulia is presented as an innocent victim of fate. Hence, (E).

    6. Refer to paragraph 3. The author states the proud and passionate mind of a gragic hero as
    hubris. He further states that the hubris in a comedy is ‘usually some act of humility’. Hence, (C).

For details on how to improve your Critical Reading skills in general and Reading comprehension
ability in particular, try the
Winners' Guide to SAT Reading Comprehension.