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Ready? Here’s the first section: Reading. This is a section full of various fiction and non-fiction passages and can be fairly tricky if you aren’t prepared to answer a variety of detailed and broad questions. Considering it’s the starting point, it’s also easy to. become exhausted because of the various subjects you will need to read about and interpret.
For this section, you will have 20 multiple choice questions and several passages to read, some of which are reoccurring, so it helps to read slowly and carefully. Passing TSI Reading scores range from 351 to 390 with each question being weighted, so we are aiming to only get one to three questions incorrect. That seems like it could be a bit anxiety-inducing, but it doesn’t have to be. With the right strategies, approach, and inner voice, it’s manageable.
The first key thing to keep in mind is the benefit of pretending like you are reading passage as if you know nothing about the subject or story at all. Make sure to also read each word that is actually printed from the author’s perspective; try to mimic their tone and feel what they might have felt when they wrote about the subject at hand while reading their words. Be prepared to use context clues to try to understand what message the author is trying to convey because you will read everything from modern-day writers to not-so-recent-authors. In addition to that, make sure that you are paying close attention to the word choice of the author and being curious as to why they may have chosen the words they did. This can make the reading more enjoyable, especially since the several of the passages are informative or from classic literature.
Make sure the main idea of the passage and the author’s purpose is clear to you before you move on to the question below it. There are a few very general main idea and purpose questions you will need to answer, but there will be answers that, while true, are not relevant to what the author has talked about or will only mention a singular thing that the author talked about rather than the entire topic. However, there are occasions where the question will request that you pull a specific detail out of the passage and match it with one of the answers.
Answering some of the questions does not always involve such basic strategies. There are questions that will ask you to compare two passages from different authors and deduce what both authors may agree or disagree upon when no clues are explicitly given. You might also have to infer information that an author might follow up with, what they are trying to elude to based on what they have already written, or what they may mean by a certain phrase or word. Other times, you may have to answer questions about the author’s writing strategies versus just the content of the passage or passages.
So, take your time to absorb the writing styles, content, and sentence structure and vocabulary. Since you will be taking the writing section next, it would be beneficial to pay close attention to the grammar and punctuation of the passages you will be reading so that you can transfer that same structure and conveying of information over to the next section. You can’t skip questions, so if you encounter one with an answer that’s not too obvious or you are torn between two answer choices, pick the best one and move on to the next passage and question. Unfortunately, this being a computer-based test means that you can’t mark up or highlight parts of the passages, but you will have scratch paper available to make notes as you read. Each passage is pretty short, so you shouldn’t have so much stuff written that it will be hard to keep track of. Try to find some story excerpts online and see if after reading them, you can point out the main idea, purpose, and understand all of the vocabulary. Best of luck!

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