Why reading is the best way to improve your SAT score

English SAT

Reading is fun. I promise.

Take it from me, someone who used to hate reading. I started hating reading in high school because we read so many books in class that I wasn’t interested in. But I soon learned that reading one boring book does not mean all books are boring. Find books that interest you, and do not compromise. If you read the first chapter of a book and you don’t like it, stop reading it and find a new one! There are so many books out there – if you take the time to look, you’ll find the right book for you. Go to the library and check out as many books as possible – explore! When you finish a good book, look up other books by the same author, or check Amazon for suggested titles. Once you find a good book for you, you will enjoy reading.

Your reading fluency improves the more you read. Since all of the SAT Reading section revolves around reading and comprehending passages, you can improve your scores simply by reading books you enjoy! The SAT is a timed test, which means you need to read at a certain pace in order to answer all of the questions. If your understanding is high but it takes you 20 minutes to read each passage, you will not have time to answer all of the questions. The more you read in your everyday life, the faster you will be able to read and comprehend a text. And the more efficient your reading and comprehension is, the more time you’ll have to work on the questions, giving you a better chance to score well on the SAT.

Reading is good for your vocabulary too. As you read the books you love, look up definitions of new words on your phone. It’s a quick and easy way to increase your vocabulary! An increased vocabulary will help you understand the SAT reading passages comprehensively, which is great for all questions on the test (not just vocabulary questions). Even if you don’t look up definitions, reading more will help you recognize prefixes, suffixes, and root words by familiarity. Furthermore, as we read, our brains naturally try to decode words we don’t know, using context clues to define unfamiliar words. This skill comes in handy on the SAT, especially because the SAT never asks you for a word’s definition straight up. On the test, you often have the to infer the meaning of words based on context clues in the passage. All reading (including reading for fun) exercises this skill; so every time you read, you’re honing a necessary SAT skill!

Reading also improves your grammar. Particularly in the age of texting, Twitter, and Snapchat, a lot of our written communication does not follow formal grammar rules. There is nothing wrong with informal communication, but the SAT devotes a whole section to grammar. Reading is a great way to become more familiar with the formal writing you’ll see on the SAT. The more immersed you are in formal grammar structures, the more easily you’ll be able to identify incorrect grammar. Soon, because reading will make you aware of how grammar should be, a grammatically incorrect sentence will even sound wrong to you as you read it.

Let’s be honest – doesn’t reading a book you’re excited about seem like a lot more fun than doing a grammar worksheet? Or drilling vocabulary words? So grab your favorite book after dinner, and let your mom know you’ll be studying!