How Reading Classics Can Help You Pass The SAT

As much as I hate to admit it, classic literature isn’t exactly popular among students these days. Even when I was in high school, most people couldn’t believe my love for classics. Among many, these books are considered boring, stuffy, and overly complicated. Instead, many teens like to read modern fiction (if they read at all in their spare time) that has more simplistic language and tend to use the concept of “show, don’t tell” more than older books. Students may be required to read classic literature in their English classes, but many of them may dislike it. However, despite how uncool classics may seem, reading them can help students in the future: by preparing them for the SAT.

Be Familiar With The Content

The Reading sections of the SAT, as well as other tests, are full of passages from classic books. In my experience as a SAT tutor, one of the most difficult things for students is understanding the passages out of context. The test only gives you a tiny portion of the entire book and leaves out vital information from the story. This makes it difficult to infer and answer some of the questions. But if you have happened to read that story, you will know the plot, the characters, and other important information from the book, making it easier to answer the questions. Much easier.

CS Lewis

Be Accustomed To Complicated Language

Even if someone hasn’t read a particular book featured on the test, reading classic literature still gives them an advantage. As I mentioned earlier, these books tend to be more complex, especially when it comes to language use. For example, Charles Dickens sometimes has sentences that are literally the length of a paragraph. Also, older books usually have advanced vocabulary that isn’t used regularly in modern language. This can overwhelm some students. However, reading classic literature and being familiar with its more complicated language will prepare a student for reading the passages on the SAT, even if they aren’t familiar with the original story.

Read, Read, Read!

There is no telling what passages are going to show up on test day; they are bound to always change. However, they will seem much less intimidating if you are familiar with the book, or with classical writing in general. My advice is to read as many classics as you can, and to just read as much as possible. I was always given looks for constantly having my nose in a classic book, but in the end, it helped me pass both the SAT and the Praxis. If you have a Kindle or a library card, the list of classics available to you for free is endless. If classic books seem too difficult at first, try picking up classics written for children, such as Alice In Wonderland or The Chronicles of Narnia, and then work for your into more challenging books.

It will be worth it in the end.


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