The paired passage section on the ACT or SAT is a portion of the reading section that asks you to read two passages and answer a set of questions based on both passages. They are usually two natural science or social science passages. So while you can (and should!) use strategies for those kinds of passages on the paired passages, you have additional goals to accomplish while reading through the paired passage. In this post, we’ll walk through some of the unique challenges the paired passage presents and strategies for overcoming these challenges.
What is the Paired Passage on the SAT/ACT?
The paired passage is a portion of the reading section that asks you to read two passages and answer a set of questions based on both passages. The paired passages are usually two natural science or social science passages, so you can use some techniques from those passages when reading. However, your goal when reading these passages is to figure out how they relate.
When considering how the passages relate to one another, think about these options:
- Do the passages express different opinions or perspectives on the same issue?
- Does one passage present a problem while the other passage offers a solution?
- Does one passage present a theory while the other passage offers evidence to support the theory?
- Or maybe each passage presents the same evidence but comes to differing conclusions?
The passages will agree on some points and disagree on others. To help you clarify what you’ve read, after you read the first passage write or think of one sentence to summarize the passage. Then after you read the second passage try to come up with one sentence that doesn’t just summarize the passage but relates it back to the first. The simpler the sentence the better!
Paired Passage Video Walkthrough
Watch the videos below to get a better understanding of what the paired passage is like on the SAT/ACT. In these videos, Olive Book course creator Cristina shares helpful strategies and tips for reading the passages and answering the questions. These videos are pulled from Olive Book’s SAT and ACT courses. Learn more and enroll at www.olive-book.com.