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Cross-text connections | Lesson

A guide to "cross-text connections" questions on the digital SAT

What are "cross-text connections" questions?

On the Reading and Writing section of your SAT, some questions will present two short texts for you to read. The question will then ask you to compare the points of view of the authors of the two texts.
Cross-text connections questions will look like this:

cross-text connections: example
Text 1
What factors influence the abundance of species in a given ecological community? Some theorists have argued that historical diversity is a major driver of how diverse an ecological community eventually becomes: differences in community diversity across otherwise similar habitats, in this view, are strongly affected by the number of species living in those habitats at earlier times.
Text 2
In 2010, a group of researchers including biologist Carla Cáceres created artificial pools in a New York forest. They stocked some pools with a diverse mix of zooplankton species and others with a single zooplankton species and allowed the pool communities to develop naturally thereafter. Over the course of four years, Cáceres and colleagues periodically measured the species diversity of the pools, finding—contrary to their expectations—that by the end of the study there was little to no difference in the pools’ species diversity.
Based on the texts, how would Cáceres and colleagues (Text 2) most likely describe the view of the theorists presented in Text 1?
Choose 1 answer:
Choose 1 answer:

How should we think about cross-text connections questions?

Cross-text connections questions give us twice as much text to consider, but both texts will cover the same subject, and this close interrelation means that each text will build your understanding of the other.
Additionally, cross-text connections questions will always focus on point of view, which allows us to read the passages with this particular aspect in mind.

Point of view

Point of view refers to the opinions and perspectives of a given person. In the context of the SAT, the point of view we'll tend to focus on is that of the author of the passage or that of specific individuals named in the passage. For instance, in our example question, we're asked to consider the views of the "theorists" from Text 1 and "Cáceres and colleagues" from Text 2.
Once we've identified the individuals whose points of view the question asks about, we'll usually need to consider whether those points of view agree or disagree.
Remember, the points of view we identify must be directly supported by the text. Avoid choices that express opinions that are too extreme, that swap the points of view of different people, or that make claims that go beyond the specific focus of the text.

How to approach cross-text connections questions

To solve cross-text connections questions, consider following these steps:
Step 1: Summarize the texts
Read each passage closely and summarize the ideas you encounter. Try to boil each text down to one or two simple points. Give some extra attention to the point of view expressed in each text: you know the question will focus on it!
If a passage introduces a particular person, it’s a good idea to focus on the opinions of that person.
By the end of this step, you should have a short summary in mind for each of the two texts.
Step 2: Determine the relationship
Now that you have summarized the points of view that the question focuses on, you must determine how those summaries relate to one another.
  • Do the points of view agree?
  • Do they disagree?
  • Does one point of view elaborate on or modify the other?
Answering these questions should allow you to determine how the two texts are connected to each other, and how the ideas they contain interact. Once we can state this relationship in our own words, we can move on to the next step.
Step 3: Test the choices
Compare your results to each of the choices. Which choice most closely matches the relationship between points of view that you identified? You can select this choice with confidence!
If you're still struggling to decide between the choices, try eliminating choices that go beyond what is expressed by the text or that exaggerate how extreme different points of view might be. Remember, the correct answer will be directly supported.

Top tips

Look for positives (+) and negatives (–)

Pay attention to the specific words used in a text. Are the words positive, negative, or neutral? Word choice that reveals a particular tone or attitude is highly useful for identifying point of view because it can tell us how the author (or whoever else we're focused on) feels about the subject being discussed. Positive and negative words can be particularly useful when looking for agreement or disagreement.

Stick to the text

Avoid choices that go beyond what's directly stated in the text. While it might be tempting to infer what an author's opinion might be, incorrect choices will frequently make claims that are too extreme or that cover cases not explicitly covered in the text. Don't fall into these traps!

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