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|Reading Comprehension: Main Ideas
|Many "critical reading" questions have a key word in the
question stem to identify the type of question. Main idea
questions can be identified by the key words: main point,
title, primarily concerned, primary purpose, chief theme.
Identify these, and you can easily choose the answer.
For example: After a selection about the Mexican style of herding cattle
and the derivation of American cowboy terms from Spanish terms, answers
to a question about the best title for the selection include:
A. How to Herd Cattle
B. The Life of the American Cowboy
C. Farming Practices in America
D. Hispanic Contributions to Ranching
E. Spanish Influences on American Culture
Solution: The key word “title” indicates a main idea question.
Consider the possible answer choices:
A. How to Herd Cattle pertains to only part of the selection.
B. The Life of the American Cowboy pertains to more than the selection.
C. Farming Practices in America does not pertain to this selection.
D. Hispanic Contributions to Ranching - This is the main idea.
E. Spanish Influences on American Culture pertains to more than the selection.
SAT TIP: When you answer main idea questions, be sure
to eliminate the answers that are too narrow or too broad.
Practice with these examples:
An easy passage for scores from 200 to 400
A moderate passage for scores from 400 to 600
A difficult passage for scores from 600 to 800
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| Reading fluency is the most important key to success on the SAT,
but there are also strategies to help you choose the correct answer.
|SAT TIP: Read the question stems
carefully to identify the key words.
|Questions? Write the SATtutor@SATpreparation.net