Is it possible to improve a critical reading score on the SAT?
I often hear the misconception that a critical reading SAT score cannot be improved, and while it is true that empirical evidence shows average score gains to be minimal (5-10 points), I managed to improve my reading score by 80 points.
So how did I improve my reading score?
I read — a lot! And, I started the project with a rock-solid foundation in reading. Without that base, no amount of test prep could have saved me.
Tip: There is no shortcut to learning vocabulary.
Even though vocabulary isn’t specifically tested on the new SAT, understanding words in context is critical for answering the reading passage questions.
Tip: More general knowledge can vastly help a critical reading score.
Research shows that background knowledge helps with comprehension. For example, a student who already knows about Descartes and dualism* will process a passage much faster and more accurately than a student who is unfamiliar with the topic – even if their decoding and strategy skills are identical.
Here is a related post, if you would like more information about improving on the critical reading section.
The SAT Yellow Brick Road
You can sign up for a series of tailored emails that will lead you step-by-step through the entire SAT process:
Each series also includes links to SAT resources and articles that I highly recommend.