1. Read regularly. Read a good newspaper. I like the WSJ, but the NYT or Christian Science Monitor would work fine. Read one or two articles in areas that you normally would not. If you don’t follow international affairs, read an article or two about diplomacy in the Middle East. If you don’t know much about economics, read a good newspaper’s reporting of the news on the economy. If you are a freshman or sophomore, you can improve your score dramatically by doing as little as thirty minutes a day of focused, active reading.
Boy Reading image by Jasmic. Licensed cc by ND 2.0. See more of Jason’s images in his Flickr photostream: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jasmic/
2. Read a novel that you haven’t been assigned in school. When you encounter an unfamiliar word or phrase, look it up. If you’re reading on an e-reader of have a smart phone handy, you can learn a new word in context in a few seconds. Ask your Language Arts teacher to help you develop an outside reading program. When I was a sophomore at Dover High School, I asked my English teacher, Mr. Wright, to recommend books I should read to develop a better vocabulary. It worked. By the time I was a senior, I scored in the 97th percentile on the Critical Reading part of the SAT.
3. Take a practice critical reading test – Even if you only take a section or two, you will have a much better idea of which areas you need to improve. Which types of passages give you trouble? What subjects did you encounter that were unfamiliar? Consider using your electives to strengthen your knowledge in these areas.
4. Ask a successful SAT critical reading student how he or she prepared. Most people will be flattered when you ask them to share their success story. Take notes.
5. Look up the college or university that you dream of attending. See what kind of Critical Reading score the school expects applicants to have. Set a specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, time-bound goal to attain that score. Write it down and work backwards to the daily actions needed to get yourself there. Start.
Working with a good SAT Critical Reading tutor can also help you improve your SAT Critical Reading Scores. I tutor SAT Reading and Writing in New Tampa, Wesley Chapel, Zephyrhills, FL and the surrounding areas. Call me at 813 787 8959.