Does Reading the Newspaper Increase SAT and ACT Scores?

To prepare for the reading sections of the SAT and ACT, many students are encouraged to read the newspaper daily. This can be effective – if a student begins at a very young age.

The reality is that reading comprehension skills develop over time and reading The Post for two months before the test isn’t the most effective way to prepare. The best way to prepare for the critical reading sections on the SAT, for example, is to practice critical reading sections on the SAT! It seems obvious, but too often students spend time reading non-relevant material in order to prepare for these tests. The reading sections on the SAT and ACT are their own beasts; questions and answer choices are expressly written to test students on meaning. Most high schools, unfortunately, test their students for content and this is what students are used to. This is why the reading sections on the college entrance exams are notoriously difficult.

So while building reading skills from an early age is the best bet for doing well on the reading comprehension sections, reading the newspaper for a few months in hopes of bumping up one’s SAT or ACT score will be less effective than practicing the test sections themselves.