SSAT Instructor Terri shows you how to recognize and approach specific or detailed questions on the SSAT reading section.

Pacing is a challenge for most students on the SSAT reading test. 40 questions to answer in 40 minutes for the middle and upper levels. However, the ability to recognize and to strategically solve specific types of questions on the reading test is a definite time saver and helps to get a good score. Knowing what to what to expect is half the battle when it comes to earning top scores.

So today I’m going to show you how to recognize and how to approach detail and specific questions on the SSAT reading test.

What are detail or specific questions?

Detailed or specific questions are straightforward. They ask for specific facts or references from the passage and they use words like

  • According to the passage, according to the article, or according to the author.
  • The author or passage states that
  • The author believes
  • In line 10 the author compares pollution to
  • In line 13 the word relinquish means
  • It could be a question like, which of the following questions is answered in the passage?

Some keywords to be on the lookout for are: according to, states, believes, mentions, describes, examples, etc.

How to approach detail or specific questions

  • Skim when you’re looking for answers to specific questions. Remember, don’t read every word. You have already done that when you read the passage the first time.
  • You want to use elimination or ruling out. You want to cross out incorrect answers that are obvious right away; it really helps to narrow down your choices.
  • Think of it as a treasure hunt. You’re a detective finding clues to solve a case back in the passage.
  • You should be able to locate and underline the correct answer restated or paraphrased in the passage. If you can’t do that, then
    you haven’t found the answer yet, keep looking.
  • You definitely want to use line or paragraph references to help you locate relevant information. Remember that you’ll need the context around those lines for the right answer; you have to read more of the paragraph to get the right answer.

Here’s a key strategy for you

You want to research the details by relating facts, figures, and names in the question to a specific paragraph. So use words that stand out in the question and in the passage, for example, names, places, and long words. They’re easy to find in the passage. They’re called lead words because they lead you back to the right place in the passage, and if you use all these strategies, it’ll be much easier to find the right answer for detailed, specific questions.

For more information, visit: Prepped and

Please rate, review and subscribe to the show on iTunes!

What was your biggest takeaway from this episode about how to tackle specific or detailed SSAT reading questions? Do you have any questions for Terri and Alexis Avila?

Post your comments below:

Become a Fan on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter