Perform these five steps while you read:

1. Classify the Passage
Is this passage persuasive or descriptive? Is it about science, business or humanities?

2. Analyze Paragraphs
Break down each paragraph. Look for the main idea, tone and transitions.

3. Identify Organization
Make a road map of the essay and/or draw an outline.

4. Find the Big Idea
Look for unusual language that makes an important point. Pay more attention to the first and last paragraphs.

5. Determine Purpose
Identify the conflicting perspectives within the essay, and the author’s point-of-view.

To prepare for the questions, here are the 5 steps you should take while reading a passage.

  1. Classify the Passage. Is it science or humanities? Is this a persuasive essay or a descriptive one?
  2. Break Down Each Paragraph. Look for the tone, main idea, and transitions.
  3. See the Organization. Make a road map of the essay and/or draw out a map structure on your scratch paper.
  4. Find the Big Idea. Pay more attention to first and last paragraphs. Look for unusual language that makes an important point.
  5. Diagnose the Author’s Purpose. Look for intention in the essay.
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