SAT Reading Section is designed by the College Board to test the ability of students to analyze word choice, primary purpose, argument, author’s tone, and point of view.  For the paired passages, students are expected to do all of these for both the passages individually. Students also need to synthesize the different ideas contained in both the passages. This task is challenging unless and until the students taking the SAT test is aware about the different question-types that are exclusive to the paired passages. These are listed below:

  • Response Questions:

How does the author of Passage 1 respond to the position taken by the author of Passage 2?

These questions can be answered with ease only if the student identifies the main purpose of each passage.

  • Relationship Questions:

Which choice best states the relation between the two passages?

Students need to utilize their ability to synthesize the relationship between the passages and require them to infer the answer. Identify the similarities and difference between the two and use textual evidences to arrive at the right answer choice.

  • Agreement Questions:

The authors of Passage 1 and Passage 2 would most likely agree with which of the following?

Using textual evidences and inference skills, the students are required to understand what both the authors equally support.

Now that we have a better understanding of the question-types that are exclusive to Paired passages, we must devise the best strategy to approach these passages.

Since students have to deal with two different viewpoints, it is highly beneficial if students actively reads both the passages and annotate it before looking at the questions. This technique needs constant and consistent practice as it is a time-consuming process initially. But it helps the students to tackle the most challenging passage on the SAT Reading Section. It is mandatory that the students identify certain key information from both the passages separately that will aid them in answering the questions.

  • Main Idea: Identify the main information conveyed by the authors of Passage 1 and Passage 2 separately.
  • Author’s Tone: It is crucial to identify whether one of the authors is in favor or against the argument made by the other.
  • Purpose of each Paragraph: Make short notes beside the paragraph stating what sort of information the author has included in it. Primary purpose of each paragraph is usually contained in the first two sentences of that particular paragraph.

These techniques and strategies will help any test-taker to solve the question on the Paired section with ease. SAT Preparation is a lot easier now that you have understood some techniques to answer paired passages.

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