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Reading Test Skills

Information and Ideas

Questions about information and ideas focus on the informational content of text. These questions assess how well students are able to:

  • Understand explicit and implicit meaning of text and extrapolate beyond the information and ideas in a text to new and analogous situations.
  • Find the evidence within a passage that best supports a particular conclusion.
  • Determine the central idea(s) or theme(s) in a passage.
  • Summarize a passage or its key information and ideas.
  • Trace cause-effect, compare-contrast, or sequential relationships in a passage.
  • Determine the meaning of a word or phrase as it is used in context.

Rhetoric

Reading Test questions that assess skills in rhetorical analysis of text ask students to analyze the way an author uses word choice, structure, and other techniques to create a desired effect. Students must think about rhetorical concerns such as the following:

  • How an author’s selection of words and phrases shapes the meaning and tone of a passage.
  • How a passage is structured.
  • The effect of point of view or perspective on the content and style of a passage and the way in which the passage is written.
  • The main purpose of a passage or a particular paragraph in a passage.
  • An author’s construction of an argument.

Synthesis

Reading Test questions that assess synthesis skills ask students to make connections between two sources. Students may be asked to:

  • Analyze two different but related passages to answer questions that require close reading skills, command of evidence, an understanding of the author’s craft, and other skills covered in Information and Ideas and Rhetoric.
  • Analyze quantitative information in an accompanying graph, table, chart, or other graphic. They’ll need to interpret the data (though no mathematical calculations will be necessary) and relate those data to the information and ideas presented in the passage.