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More on Analytical Questions

More on Analytical Questions

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[edit section] More On Analytical Questions

In previous sections, we covered a little bit about analysis questions. Analysis questions are key to the SAT in that they frequently occur and are generally more difficult than comprehension-based questions. However, they are not impossible to master. Today, we'll look at some new and advanced techniques for answering analysis questions.

The first thing to remember about analysis questions is that you must know when a question is an analysis question as opposed to a comprehension question. Remember that comprehension questions require to "recall" whereas analysis questions require to "examine, think, explain, infer, or extend." In comprehension questions, you will look for text to directly support a given answer choice. For example:

2. Why doesn't Sarah want to meet Emily?

This is a comprehension question. Somewhere in the passage, the text implies or explicitly states why Sarah doesn't want to meet Emily. An analysis question, on the other hand, might look more like this:

7. Which of the following words best describes Sarah?

This question requires you to take a look at the character of Sarah as a whole and apply the answer choices to her. Clearly, this requires more thought than the previous question.

Once you have correctly identified an analysis question, you should next stop and think: What is the question REALLY asking? For example, consider the question:

5. With which of the following statements would the author most likely agree?

This question is essentially asking you to pick the statement that "matches" the passage. Likewise, the question:

11. It can be inferred from the selection that Tesla:

B. did not have the same education as Edison

C. was overly trusting of human nature

D. was a natural competitor

E. misjudged Edison's character

Again, this question asks you: "What is true about Tesla?" You then apply each of the choices and see what sticks or fits.

Finally, once you have identified the question type and the nature of the question, you can apply some logic to the choices. Here are some strategies to eliminate analysis choices:

• Avoid extreme choices. Very rarely will the answer actually be the extreme choice. For example, in the question above, A is quite extreme ("awful") and does not really fit the register of the rest of the answer choices. You should recognize A as an "extreme" choice.
• Synonyms don't count. Typical for answer choices are synonyms, or choices that essentially mean the same thing (especially in context). These synonyms will almost never be the actual answer. In the above question, choices B and E are essentially the same choice (misjudgment of character = overly trusting) and therefore, B and E are unlikely to be the answers because only one choice can be correct.
• Don't over-extend. If you find yourself making two or three inferences to justify an answer choice, it is probably wrong. If it is not immediately obvious to you why an inference is correct, it is also probably based on an incorrect or inaccurate assumption.

Remember, these tips are approximations. You should always consider all answer choices - these are only here to help you when you are stuck. Take the next SAT Reading Comprehension Quiz at the Quiz School and see how you fare!