Annotate the Passage • Find the clear statement of argument or thesis • Identify the kind of argument being made • Vivid language or vivid metaphors • Mark shifts in point of view or tone • Parallel syntax • Underline unknown words with context clues • Bold claims or false statements • CONTROL THE PASSAGE; DON’T LET IT CONTROL YOU!
In General • Answer every question in which you can eliminate at least one or two answers • Leave blank answers you don’t have time to finish • Context clue • Often times the unknown word will be placed with a passage with a certain image; that should be enough to give you a clue as to the answer • Questions are sequential from the beginning of the passage to the end, not from easiest to hardest
Advice for Certain Questions • Pronoun antecedents • “It refers to which of the following nouns?” • To answer this question, substitute each word in its place • Familiar but unfamiliar vocabulary • “In colonial times, it was important to husband the food supply during the winter.” • “our future would be better insured if we carefully husband our natural resources.” • Best answer: to use, to marry, to conserve to waste or to join?
Advice for Certain Questions • Roman Numeral Questions • Consider the Roman Numerals FIRST. Decide which ones are correct, then move to the A, B, C choices OR Find the Roman Numeral you know is wrong and then eliminate those answers • Figures of Speech • Questions clarify an unknown with something that is known and add a layer of meaning • “The new CEO entered the board room with the flair of a matador” • This analogy makes all of the following inferences EXCEPT: A. The new CEO is the center of attention. B. The new CEO is in a high risk profession. C. The new CEO faces a substantial opposition from others. D. The new CEO exudes power and strategy. E. The new CEO is an effective delegator of responsibility
Advice for Certain Questions • Main Idea Stems • “the author’s primary focus” • “The intent of the passage” • “The anticipated outcome of the argument” • Don’t be fooled by the partial ideadistractor • Tone/Mood questions • Defined by connotation/diction or imagery • Review your tone words and know them for the test
Footnote Questions • Footnotes can: • Identify a source • Define terms • Add facts or details • Clarify confusion • Set the record straight READ FOOTNOTES!
Syntax Questions • Parallel Syntax • Provides good momentum, gives drive and energy • Rhetorical Questions • The reader is being manipulated into giving the answer the writer wants • Function as transitions • Organizational techniques from discussion to solution
Syntax Questions • Clauses and Phrases • Clauses are either dependent (fragments added on) or independent (full sentences added on) • Phrases do not have verbs • Think about what the clause and phrase is doing for the writer to the reader • Track this with punctuation • Commas= “add ons” that are dependent; usually to clarify, provide examples, or add more context/description • Semicolons = “add ons” that are independent; usually of equal value • Dash = interrupts a thought with more info, not necessarily related to precious thought • Parenthesis = Creates an “aside” moment that provides an additional thought from the author
Syntax Questions • Loose Sentence • Independent clause followed by a dependent clause • Sentence reaches syntactical closure early • Relieves tension and allows the reader to explore the rest of the sentence without urgency. • Periodic Sentence • Dependent Clause followed by an Independent Clause • carry high tension and interest • Reader must wait until the end of the sentence to understand the meaning. • There is no “closure” until the end of the sentence.
Attacking the Questions • Read and annotate the question stem • Underline words like “except, best, primarily” • Make sure you know what each question is asking • Your answer • Think of an answer before looking at the distractors. • ZAP: Rule out certain answers • Eliminate answers that are clearly wrong. “X” words/phrases/clauses that make answers wrong. • Remember, the entire answer must be right. • “Zero in And Pick” from the answers you have left. • Skip it if you can’t narrow to 2-3 choices.
Should I Read the Questions Before I Read the Passage? • Remember, the choices have one CORRECT answer and 4 WRONG ones. You run the risk of misreading the passage if you look at these answers. • IF YOU MUST LOOK: glance at the question stems only to avoid confusion.