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CR improvement

UserAccountUserAccount Posts: 7 Harvard Champion

I just took the May SAT and—from my practice tests and how well I did on test day—I believe that I will score 740+ on both Math and Writing. However my CR score is probably lower 600s. All the colleges I am going to apply to superscore; so I need to improvement my CR score.

So, I have two questions:

First, do you have any tips for improving my CR score to the 700+ range? How do those of you that score 700+ on CR do it? What is your strategy?

Secondly, if a college superscores, do they care about your lower scores? What I mean is, if, your example, you score 730m, 760w, and 630r on your first try. Then, on your second attempt, you score 600m, 600w, 720r. Would this bother a college? Do they care that on your second try your math and writing scores were so low even though it is not your highest? (and therefore does not matter because of superscoring).

I hope these questions make sense.

Thanks a lot for your help!
Post edited by UserAccount on

Replies to: CR improvement

  • oliviak8246oliviak8246 Posts: 2 Harvard Champion
    edited May 2013
    Improving your CR reading score can be tricky, but it is not impossible. Reading comprehension is a skill that is developed from the time you learn to read, so in my opinion the best way to improve it is to read, read, read. I suggest reading challenging books or magazines that are structured like the CR passages, such as The Economist. Force yourself to get into the habit of dissecting what you read, even if its for pleasure. Also, practice is very important. CR can be difficult because you have so much to do in not so much time, and I think that's where it kills people. Don't rush - you're bound to miss subtleties in the text that can make a difference in your score. Also, annotate each passage. Mark the lines mentioned from the questions and write a little something next to it, like "purpose" or "tone" (depending on what the question is asking for). Underline stuff that you find interesting, or think may be important. Jot down notes in the margin. When it comes to reading the passage itself, it really comes down to how fast of a reader you are. You want to have an overall understanding of the passage, but wasting too much time reading it can be detrimental. Most of all- RELAX! Being nervous during the CR is natural but can really hurt you. It's not the end of the world if you can't get your score into the 700s, especially if your math and writing scores are good. I score 700+ on CR and Writing, but can't hit 600 in math for the life of me. All in all, if you're determined and work hard at improving, then you are that much closer to succeeding. Good luck!
  • UserAccountUserAccount Posts: 7 Harvard Champion
    edited May 2013
    Oliviak, thanks a lot for the reply! I find your tips very helpful!

    I have read a decent amount over the course of the last few years. However, what do you think I can do in the next 3 weeks to best prepare myself for the test? I will continue to read everything I can... But what is your CR technique? What I have been doing is—before I start reading—going through and marking all of the spots that are referred to in the line related questions. Then, I read through the passage and answer all of the marked spots as best I can. After that, I go through and answer all of the "tone" related questions. Is this a good technique? Thus far, I seem to omitted about 2 passage related questions per section (because I runout of time). How can I improve this?

    Thanks again for your help!
  • oliviak8246oliviak8246 Posts: 2 Harvard Champion
    edited May 2013
    No problem! Sorry, I've been studying for AP exams for the past few days. Anyway, in 3 weeks I'd definitely pick up some magazines and try to read through them. Also, I don't know how good you are at vocab, but don't underestimate the sentence completions -- they could be easy points to gain or lose. I don't really have any tips on the vocab aspect because I have a knack for correctly guessing the definitions of hard words, but I guess just studying roots and all that would help. My technique is similar to yours - I skim the questions and mark up all the lines that are referenced to, read the passage, and answer the line questions first. I would definitely save all of the "big picture" questions for last, unless one of the answers is so obvious you do not need to dwell on it. Also, for the 2 passage questions, I would work through all of the passage 1 questions, then passage 2 questions, and then save the questions about both passages for last. If you're aiming for 700+ in CR, then you can't really omit any questions. If timing is the issue, and not arriving at an answer, then the best thing you can do is practice practice practice. I like to practice untimed at first in order to increase my precision, and then I start timing myself to increase accuracy. Relaxing during the section is also, as I mentioned before, crucial. When I get nervous, I lose focus which makes me slow down and waste precious time. When you're reading a passage, don't think about how horribly boring it is. You have to fake interest in order to trick your mind into retaining the info. So even if the passage is about the mundane tasks of a librarian, don't fall into the mindset that it's too boring to read because then you will have trouble comprehending the passage. My tutor always stressed the importance of having a positive attitude during the test, especially towards the passages, and after taking the SAT I can definitely concur with her advice. Just remember, you can do this! You probably have a great score already and you should be proud of yourself for being so determined in overcoming a weakness. Good luck!
  • sg12909sg12909 Posts: 21 College Search & Selection Champion
    edited May 2013
    Olivia covered it extremely well. Just a few things: making a passage map (notes and mark-ups) can be time consuming sometimes, and when you first use the technique it can feel like a waste of time. I only circle main ideas/author's voice areas, but it's just personal preference. It is a very useful strategy though.
    Also, don't forget about vocabulary. Lists are boring, but there are some great apps and games out there. I recommend Princeton's.
    If you do find yourself getting bored or distracted during the test, try to read the passages as you would a teen novel from the library. Lethargy has never been a problem for me, though.
  • UserAccountUserAccount Posts: 7 Harvard Champion
    edited May 2013
    Oliviak and sg12909, thanks so much for the help! It means a lot!

    As far as the vocab, I bought The Princeton Review's Word Smart book. Then, I wrote down every single word that I did not know on an index card. I memorize the cards in groups of 5 and go over them every day. It seems to work quite well for me, however it is a lot of words to memorize. Currently, on my practice tests, I am getting about 5 out of 6 correct on the vocab. However, as oliviak pointed out, the vocab questions should be really easy points—I should get all of them correct.

    Oliviak, thanks for the tip about practicing un-timed to nail down my technique, I will try that out.

    This will be my second time taking the SAT—I also took the May test. I have about 2.5 weeks now, I would really like to get a 700+ on reading. I think currently, I am in the lower-mid 600s at best. However I am 750+ in every other subject. Does it seem like I am doing the right things? It is sometimes discouraging that I don't get through all of the questions in the allotted time. I think part of the issue is that my reading is very slow. Do you think if I keep taking practice tests and work on my vocab as I have been, I can improve to 700+ by June 1st?

    Thanks again! :)
  • sg12909sg12909 Posts: 21 College Search & Selection Champion
    edited May 2013
    I think it's doable. Good luck.
  • glidoglido Posts: 35
    edited May 2013
    "Reading comprehension is a skill that is developed from the time you learn to read, so in my opinion the best way to improve it is to read, read, read." - OliviaK8246

  • UserAccountUserAccount Posts: 7 Harvard Champion
    edited May 2013
    Thanks for the replies!

    Also, how many questions do you think you can get wrong and still get a 700+? Obviously the CR is graded on a variable curve; however how many can you usually get wrong and still guarantee a 700+? I know on the Math section, you usually can't get more then 4 wrong and expect to get a 700+. It is a bit more on the CR, right?

    Thanks again!
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