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SAT Critical Reading


 
 

Dual Reading Passages

Each dual passage consists of either two long passages or two short passages, followed by questions that relate to the passages individually and to the relationship between the two passages.

 

Strategies for Dual Long Passages

Dual long passages consist of two longer passages followed by several questions. For dual long passages, follow these steps:

  1. Read the two questions but not the answer choices.

  2. Answer the questions about the first passage only.

  3. Read the second passage.

  4. Answer the question(s) about the second passage only.

  5. Answer the questions that address both passages together.

 
 

Strategies for Dual Short Passages

Dual short passages consist of two 100-word passages followed by four questions. The first question relates to the first passage, the second relates to the second passage, and the last two relate to the relationship between the passages. For dual short passages, follow these steps:

  1. Read the questions about the first passage, then read the first passage.

  2. Come up with your own answer and compare it to the actual answer choices in the question about the first passage.

  3. Read the questions about the second passage, then read the second passage. Think about how the second passage relates to the first.

  4. Come up with your own answer and compare it to the actual answer choices in the question(s) about the second passage.

  5. Answer the questions that address both passages together.

 
 

Sample Dual Passage (Short)

PASSAGE 1: Few things in life are as rewarding and fulfilling as owning a pet. Whether it’s a dog, cat, bird, or fish, the appeal is the same—years of fun and unconditional love. Indeed, pets can actually satisfy many of the things people crave most: companionship, communication, loyalty, and plenty of amusement. Perhaps that’s why pets are so popular among the elderly and people who live alone. As human relationships grow more complex with each new technological gadget, the simple bond between a pet and its owner offers a refreshing and comforting reprieve.

PASSAGE 2: In addition to protesting reprehensible practices like fur trapping and animal testing, animal rights groups have begun to attack owners of cats and dogs for keeping animals “imprisoned” in the home. Finally, these groups have started to make the justified comparison of owning a pet to keeping a domesticated animal like a sheep or a cow. Both pet ownership and domestication of animals stem from the same cruel source: human selfishness. No animal should be kept confined solely for the benefit of human beings, whether that benefit comes in the form of meat, leather, or the companionship of a pet.

  1. How might you sum up the author’s main idea in the first passage?

    1. Owning a pet is cruel and unfair.

    2. Pets should always be leashed.

    3. Pet ownership has profound rewards.

    4. Pet ownership is technologically advanced.

    5. Pets need new forms of communication.

  2. The word reprehensible in the second passage most nearly means

    1. demoralizing

    2. invigorating

    3. restorative

    4. disgraceful

    5. delightful

  3. Based on information in these two passages, the authors disagree about whether

    1. animals should be kept as pets

    2. pets are beneficial for humans

    3. fur trapping should be illegal

    4. kennel conditions should be reformed

    5. human beings are inherently selfish

  4. Which words among the pairs below best describe the tone of the first passage and of the second passage, respectively?

    1. alarmed and disengaged

    2. enthusiastic and critical

    3. despondent and exuberant

    4. elated and enervated

    5. wary and disapproving

 
 

Answers and Explanations

  1. The correct answer is C.

    • This question is about main idea. If you try to summarize the passage yourself, you’ll note that the author strongly supports pet ownership because it rewards pet owners with years of fun and love.

    • A clearly is incorrect because it directly contradicts what the author says. Although B, D, and E all mention information mentioned briefly in the passage, none captures the main idea. C is correct.

  2. The correct answer is D.

    • This question is about words in context, so treat it like a Sentence Completion:

      In addition to protesting ---- practices like fur trapping and animal testing, animal rights groups have begun to attack owners of cats and dogs for keeping animals imprisoned in the home.

    • The blank calls for a negative word, because it’s clear the author of the second passage is very much against pet ownership.

    • You can rule out B, C, and E because they all are positive words. A and D are both negative words, but D, disgraceful, is a better fit in this context.

  3. The correct answer is A.

    • This question is about themes and arguments, so try to generate an answer on your own first.

    • Overall, it’s clear that the first author supports pet ownership enthusiastically and the second objects to it strongly. The answer choice that matches this most closely is A.

  4. The correct answer is B.

    • This question asks about attitude or tone. Again, generate your own answer first and then compare it to the answer choices you’re given.

    • The first passage is positive, encouraging, and excited about pet ownership; the second is negative and disapproving toward pet ownership.

    • With that in mind, B clearly is correct: the first passage is enthusiastic, whereas the second is critical.