If you're seeing this message, it means we're having trouble loading external resources on our website.

If you're behind a web filter, please make sure that the domains *.kastatic.org and *.kasandbox.org are unblocked.

Main content

Survey step | Literature passage | Reading Test | SAT

Explore strategies for reading and reviewing an SAT Reading Test passage. View more lessons or practice this subject at https://www.khanacademy.org/sat. Khan Academy is a nonprofit organization with the mission of providing a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere. We offer quizzes, questions, instructional videos, and articles on a range of academic subjects, including math, biology, chemistry, physics, history, economics, finance, grammar, preschool learning, and more. We provide teachers with tools and data so they can help their students develop the skills, habits, and mindsets for success in school and beyond. Khan Academy has been translated into dozens of languages, and 15 million people around the globe learn on Khan Academy every month. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, we would love your help! Donate or volunteer today! Donate here: https://www.khanacademy.org/donate?ut... Volunteer here: https://www.khanacademy.org/contribut... Created by Rosie Friedland.

Want to join the conversation?

Video transcript

- [Narrator] Here's a literature passage on the SAT Reading Test. Literature passages offer a slightly different challenge than the other passages do. In the science and social studies passages we focus on arguments and we look for the points that the authors are making with topic sentences which often make claims and are then supported with evidence. But literature's a little different. Instead of focusing on arguments supported by evidence we need to focus on narrative elements like setting, plot, and character. And setting is about the where and the when, plot includes the what and the how and the characters are the who. This can make literature passages difficult to skim effectively because their structures can vary so much. For example, sometimes there's dialogue between characters and the paragraphs you find in stories are way less likely to have clear topic sentences. However, it can still be helpful to take a quick look at the blurb and the questions before digging deeper. To illustrate this we're going to approach this literature passage with a modified version of a popular strategy called SQ3R, which sounds for survey, question, read, recite and review. If you like this method we encourage you to practice it and work it into your approach on test day. In this video I'll focus on the first two steps, survey and question. In the survey step I'll read the introductory blurb and skim through the questions, but I'm not gonna try to skim the entire passage. For the reasons I mentioned earlier a lot of students find that a skimming step is not a good use of time on literature passages. However, students often find that just surveying the questions gives them a rough idea of the overall shape and focus of the story. So after this survey step I'll quickly ask myself about what might happen in the story which will prepare my brain for a closer look at the passage. I'll be doing this way slowed down for instructional purposes, but this process can be completed very quickly. With practice many students find they can complete this step in about a minute for literature passages. That leaves them with about 12 minutes to work through the passage one big chunk at a time and answer some of the questions as they go along. So that's the goal. Let's get started with that introductory blurb. And the blurb is very important, don't skip the blurb because it gives you all sorts of important information. So "This passage is adapted from Amit Chaudhurri, ""A Strange and Sublimes Address." "Copyright 1991 by Amit Chaudhurri. "A ten-year-old boy named Sandeep travels with his mother, "his aunt (Mamima), and his uncle (Chhotomama) "to visit family in Calcutta, India." All right, so already we've got at least four characters, Sandeep, his mother, his aunt Mamima, and his uncle Chhotomama, and it takes place in India. Cool, that's our blurb. Let's not even look at the passage, let's move over to the questions. All right, question one, "According to the passage, "the old man was standing on the verandah because." Cool, so for this I'm gonna underline verandah and then later as we're going through the passage when we come across the verandah we'll just circle it, this is just asking us why the old man was standing on the verandah. Question number two, "In the passage, "the yogurt and the sweetmeats are compared to." Cool, so again, this is another keyword kind of question. So as we go through the passage we'll be looking for yogurt and sweetmeats, the mentions of that. Question three, "as used in lines 33 and 35 "air mostly means." Okay, let me dip over to the passage, look for lines 33 and 35. Okay, there's like 30, 31, 32, 33, air, gonna underline that, 34, 35, air again. And that's question three, I'm gonna put that in the sidebar. All right, question four, "The characters' behavior during the gift giving," okay, so we're gonna be on the lookout for when gift giving happens for question four. Question five is looking for textual evidence for the answer to question four. So we'll be on the lookout for that as we go through. Question six, "The description of Chhotomama "and the son's interaction mainly serves to." Okay, this is going to be a question about the purpose of the description of something. So we're gonna be, this is a craft question so we're gonna be doing a close read when Chhotomama and the son interact. "Over the course of the passage, "Sandeep comes to view the adults as," something. So, okay, so view signals to me that this going to be a POV question, that is to say a point of view question. Because we know from the blurb that Sandeep was the character who was mentioned first, he's probably the protagonist of the story. So we're gonna be looking for the way his point of view changes or an opinion that he expresses. Similarly, in question eight, "Sandeep would be "most critical of which action from the passage?" Okay, so we're going to be looking again for things that Sandeep has opinions about, maybe critical opinions about. Question nine, "Which lines from the passage "most strongly suggest that "India has experience social change?" Okay, so we're looking for proof of social change in India and lines that indicate. And finally a vocab question, "As used in line 61, ""impression" most nearly means," something. So let's hop over to line 61 and underline it. There's line 60, and there's line 61 and there's the word impression. Let me just mark this with question 10 and then that's it. Now look, the purpose of this step is not to keep all of those questions actively in your head at all times. It's, do not feel like you have a responsibility to memorize these questions. But I will say it is really impressive what your subconscious holds on to. The purpose of this is just to survey and get a broad map of what the questions are asking, it's not memorize the questions. So if that's a concern of yours I would urge you to put it aside. I don't know that there's much else that we can do with this passage right now except to just dive right in to the reading. So that's what I'm gonna do next. I'll see you in the next video.