Prep Step: Reading!

Today’s guest is the capital, classic, crackerjack Chris Barnes of Longmont High!

(If you haven’t met him, he’s this genial teacher circled below…)










Chris is going to help us focus on the Reading section. Learners… know that some schools (CU, CSU, DU) ask for that score explicitly. Some schools don’t look at the EBRW score at all, and only ask for the reading score. It’s kind of a big deal.

Let’s hear from Mr Barnes:

“From an early age, you were taught how to read. And, by now, you’re probably pretty good at it! But – do you know what  your brain is doing when you read? That’s what the SAT measures. Do you know how to read for theme, tone, or bias? Do you know how to identify transitions in a story or article? Do you think about the author’s purpose, or even their lingering thoughts and conflicting data? This PowerPoint will give you a few tips and pointers to make sure you can answer the SAT’s call. Remember: it’s about knowing the test, and that’s where we’ll start. You can read, sure – but how will you prove that to the test? You already know how; let us help you refine your skill!”


  • Mr Barnes put together this fantastic PowerPoint (mentioned in his quote): take a look. YOU take the test – don’t let it TAKE YOU! He’ll show you how.
  • If you’re concerned with your reading ability – practice reading! Not just the test – read an article a night on a topic you’re interested in, and follow Chris’ suggestions on annotating and thinking.
    • Scope magazine,,, Edsitement …
  • Struggle with the clock? Practice timing. There are 5 passages on the SAT of varying levels of difficulty, and you have 65 minutes to complete it. Try timing yourself in 10 minute chunks so you get used to a fast pace.
  • Reading passages abound: Do one practice passage a night – that’s not a lot, as it should only take about 10-13 minutes to complete and then time to review and reflect. Actual practice tests and answer explanations all live HERE.

Questions? Ask away on twitter @thesatchallenge, or email us: