Hi there! This is my first blog post! I thought I would test this out before I post regularly... It comes with the tutor profile, so why not?!
I just want to give my number one piece of advice which has been true for every standardized test I have come across, no matter what grade level. I wish I had known this or understood this concept when I was growing up - I was always a good student, but maybe I would've been better!
Here is the scenario. You're faced with this gigantic passage and you see that it's something incredibly boring. Immediately, your brain shuts off as you attempt to crawl your way to the end of it. You also feel the pressure of the clock, so instead of reading the passage, you kind of end up skimming over it. Then there are all these questions and you have no idea where to begin because you didn't absorb a single thing you read, so in a panic, you start guessing, even if those guesses mean penalties (on certain tests). Sound like you?
Here is the strategy: the passage in front of you is an answer key - read the passage ONLY to answer the questions. Do NOT just try to attack it - test makers want that to happen and are testing your endurance. The trick here isn't skimming through ALL of the passage - it is to selectively choose parts to read of it. You rarely will need to read 100% of the passage to do very well on the section. For example, if question one tells you to answer a question about paragraph one, READ ONLY PARAGRAPH ONE. The answer will ONLY be in that section. If question two asks about paragraph one and two, hey! You just read paragraph one, so you just need to read paragraph two to answer this question. Same thing applies with line numbers - you read for context (3-5 lines before and after - wherever it makes logical sense to start reading), and then you answer the question. That way, you are breaking up the super boring passage, using the questions to guide your reading.
So the difference between your old method and the new strategy is to use the QUESTIONS to guide your READING (not skimming!) of a passage, instead of just trying to test your brainpower. Usually, you have a long test ahead of you, so why tire your brain out before you have to?! Normally here is where I would guide you through some examples, but since this is a blog, that makes it a little more difficult!
I hope this helps! Good luck!