Is there really just one way to win on ACT & SAT Reading? When it comes to consistently finding the right answer, yes.
But how can you identify, with one hundred percent certainty, the correct answer to every single SAT Reading or ACT Reading question? The answer to this simple question eludes most test takers. In fact, many students are convinced that there could not possibly be any way to always know for sure if an SAT/ACT Reading answer is wrong or right.
I can understand why test takers feel this way. After all, haven’t we been taught that there is always multiple ways to correctly interpret a text? Isn’t it obvious that, when it comes to reading, different people have different takes? And if that’s true, mustn’t it also be true that nobody can definitively claim that someone else’s interpretation is erroneous? Their opinion about a text’s meaning might be different from our own, but that doesn’t mean that they are wrong. Right?
Wrong. On ACT Reading and SAT Reading, there is ONE and ONLY ONE correct answer to every single question. All the other answers are WRONG. There is no grey area because the correct answer is not based on opinion – it is a matter of FACT. The correct answer isn’t merely a preferred point of view. It is demonstrably, objectively accurate. The wrong answers aren’t “bad takes.” They are INACCURATE. They are FALSE. They are factually UNTRUE.
When it comes to the determining the correct and incorrect answers on ACT and SAT Reading, there is ZERO room for debate because whether an answer is wrong or right is simply not debatable. It is a provable issue of cold, hard FACT.
ACT & SAT READING: AN EXERCISE IN TRUE/FALSE FACT-CHECKING
Fundamentally, the ACT and SAT Reading sections are tests of your ability to fact check. In essence, the questions on these sections should be treated as “True Or False” questions. What I mean by this is that one answer is always factually accurate (“True”) and all of the other answers are factually inaccurate (“False”). Your job is to use Hyper-Literal Reading to figure out which is which.
If you can consistently employ Hyper-Literal Reading to increase your fact-checking prowess, you can increase your ACT Reading or SAT Reading score. To find out more about exactly how it is you can always determine, with 100% certainty, which ACT and SAT Reading answer choices are correct and incorrect, keep reading.
WHAT IS THE “FACT” THAT MUST BE “CHECKED”?
Here’s the key: the answer to every ACT/SAT Reading question always appears in the passage.
On both SAT and ACT Reading, you must distinguish between two types of answers: the Passage Answer and the Answer Choices. The Passage Answer is exactly what it sounds like: the precise answer to the question that appears in the passage. Rest assured, if the ACT Reading or SAT Reading sections are asking you a question, the answer to that question most definitely appears in the passage.
The correct Answer Choice to every question accurately restates the Passage Answer (usually by precisely paraphrasing or summarizing it, but occasionally by presenting an accurate analogy). An incorrect Answer Choice is incorrect precisely because it FAILS to accurately restate the answer from the passage. (Keep in mind, your ability to determine which Answer Choices are accurate restatements of the Passage Answer depends on always, always, ALWAYS using Hyper-Literal Reading!)
Here’s how to use true/false fact-checking to identify correct and incorrect answers on ACT and SAT Reading:
In Your Mind, Tag Each Answer Choice with the Following Question:
As you go about answering the above True or False question, make sure to use Hyper-Literal Reading on both the Passage Answer and Answer Choices. Then, start eliminating. If the answer to the above “tag question” is “FALSE,” the Answer Choice is wrong. On the other hand, if the answer to the above “tag question” is “TRUE,” then the Answer Choice is correct! Because you are always using Hyper-Literal Reading, it is always possible to know which is which!
CONGRATULATIONS! NOW YOU KNOW HOW TO IDENTIFY, WITH 100% CERTAINTY, THE ANSWER TO ALL SAT & ACT READING QUESTIONS!
To sum up, here are the steps:
- Tag each Answer Choice with the True or False Question.
- Locate the precise Passage Answer.
- Identify three Answer Choices that fail to accurately restate the answer in the passage, and eliminate them.
- Confirm that the remaining Answer Choice does in fact accurately restate the Passage Answer (this step is optional).
I detail Steps 2, 3, and 4 in separate posts. The key takeaway from this post is that it’s always possible to definitively identify the correct answer on SAT and ACT Reading. The reason for this is stated in the title: Every single ACT Reading and SAT Reading multiple choice question is actually a “True or False” Question. That “True or False” question is always the same: “The Answer Choice accurately restates the precise Passage Answer. True or False?”
Thus, as I suggested in this post’s introduction, there is always one way and one way only to determine the correct answer to an ACT or SAT Reading question. And it is always possible to make this determination with 100% certainty. When you use Hyper-Literal Reading to identify the precise answer in the passage, the incorrect answers are always wrong for the same reason: they fail to accurately restate the precise Passage Answer. Likewise, the correct answers are always right for the same reason: they succeed in accurately restating the precise Passage Answer.
HOW TO WIN ON ACT & SAT READING? THIS IS THE WAY
Over the years, I have taught hundreds of students to use these exact strategies to significantly increase their SAT and ACT Reading scores. In fact, I’ve never seen a student who takes these strategies seriously fail to achieve a score increase. The simple truth is that, if you work these strategies, then these strategies WORK. The reason they work is that they are based on how the SAT and ACT actually work.
So start practicing these tactics and strategies today. Continue practicing them tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that. Soon, you will start to see your scores go up!