DAT Strategy Session

Reading Comprehension

Strategy: Active Reading

The best test-takers use a strategic plan for attacking passages and questions in an aggressive, energetic, and critical way. Working this way pays off because it's the kind of pragmatic and efficient approach that the DAT rewards.

The strategy of attacking the opening paragraph entails being an active reader. This means thinking about what you're reading, paraphrasing the complicated parts, determining the topic, scope, and passage structure, and author's voice and purpose, and asking yourself questions about the passage.

Consider the following example:

The following is the first sentence of a passage:

The great migration of European intellectuals to the United States in the second quarter of the twentieth century prompted a transmutation in the character of Western social thought.

Now, ask yourself: What's the topic? The migration of European intellectuals to the United States in the second quarter of the twentieth century, that's clear. Second, what's the scope? Well, the passage looks as if it will discuss the effects of this migration on social thought.

By quickly determining the topic and scope while reading, we can easily deduce why the author is writing and notice the structure of what will follow. Actively reading passages can save a considerable amount of time once you get to the questions.

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