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Introduction to the SAT Reading test

Video transcript

- [Instructor] Hi. My name is Elizabeth and I helped create the SAT. In this video, I'm going to tell you about the section of the new SAT called the Reading Test. We'll go over what it tests, how it's scored and what you can expect to see on it. The new SAT is made up of two main sections, math and evidence based reading and writing and the evidence based reading and writing section is made up of two tests, reading and writing and language. So let's learn more about the reading test. The reading test is designed to measure how ready you are to read and interpret the kinds of texts you're likely to encounter in college and in your career. The reading test is scored on a scale of 10 to 40. Your score on the reading test and your score on the writing and language test combine to give you your evidence based reading and writing score which is on a scale of 200 to 800. When you get your SAT scores, you'll also see some subscores. Along with some of the questions on the writing and language test, some questions on the reading test will ask you to interpret the meanings of words based on the context of the passages in which they appear. These questions contribute to your Words in Context subscore. Other questions on the reading test, again, along with some of the questions on the writing and language test, will ask you to interpret, synthesize and use evidence found in a wide range of sources, including graphics and a variety of texts. These questions will contribute to your Command of Evidence subscore. Both of these subscores are on a scale of 1 to 15. In addition to subscores, you'll also see some cross-test scores. These scores will be reported on a scale of 10 to 40 and will be based on selected questions from the reading, writing and language and math tests that reflect the application of reading, writing, language and math skills in history, social studies and science contexts. All of these scores help to build a better, more detailed picture of your college and career readiness. Okay, now back to the reading test and what it looks like. All of the questions on the reading test are linked to a passage, a pair of passages or a passage with an informational graphic or graphics. Think of tables, charts and graphs. The reading test has five passages that vary in length from 500 to 750 words each. Every passage or paired passage has 10 or 11 questions with it for a total of 52 questions. You'll have 65 minutes to read the passages and answer the questions. On each test, you can expect to see at least one pair of passages and at least one passage with an informational graphic or graphics. For example, here's a single social science passage followed by a bar graph. Let's take a minute to talk about the different types of passages. In the reading test, you're going to see both literary and informational passages. Literary passages will be drawn from works of fiction, usually an excerpt from a short story or novel from the U.S. or other parts of the world. The informational passages will be drawn from published non-fiction works in the area of history, social studies and science. You can expect to see at least one science passage, at least one social science passage and at least one passage from the Founding Documents, along the lines of the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution or from the great global conversations such works inspire. The purposes of the passages will vary. The purpose might be to tell a story, make an argument, explain a study or experiment and so on. Passages will also cover a range of complexity, from texts written at a ninth grade level up to what you would expect to see early in college or other post-secondary training. Now let's talk about the types of questions that are on the reading test. Generally, the questions fall into three main categories. You'll see questions about the information and ideas in the passage, that is, what the passage says directly or what it implies. You'll also see questions that ask about the rhetoric in the passage. Think about structure, purpose and the craft of writing. These questions ask how the author of the passage says something. And you'll see questions that ask you to synthesize information by asking you to draw connections between two related passages or between a passage and an informational graphic or graphics. If you'd like to know more about the reading test questions, you'll be able to see videos that give an in-depth look at the different question types, how they work and what they look like. So that's the introduction to the reading test. Now try reading a few passages and answering some practice questions to get familiar with the SAT.