Two important issues present themselves in critical reading: comprehending the passage and understanding the semantics and psychology of the answer choices. Timed reading is often subject to passive reading that lowers critical comprehension. A student may read and “hear” the words, but does not cement the ideas in his or her working memory. A student should recognize reading and comprehension as two separate, coordinating acts. Answer choices are often written with semantics that make wrong answers sound good and right answers sound poor. For instance, a passage may write about “fish in a river” and then call them “natural resources” in an answer choice. Furthermore, psychology is used to extend answers beyond the passage’s meaning. For instance, a passage may write about research on great white sharks and an answer choice may state that a researcher was afraid (with the intent for a test taker to project his or her own perspective onto the passage’s). The important point is to understand that standardized testing is not necessarily correlated to reading ability.

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