PSAT Reading: Connections Questions

Before we jump into the specifics about inferring connections—explicit and implicit—let’s look at different kinds of connections that can exist in a PSAT Reading passage.
Connections questions ask about how two events, characters, or ideas are related. The three most common connection types are:

  • Cause and Effect

    Cause-and-Effect connections require you to identify an action or condition that brings about a predictable result. You can identify cause-and-effect relationships by the keywords caused byresults inbecause, and therefore.

  • Compare and Contrast

    Compare-and-Contrast connections highlight the similarities or differences between two items. Common compare-and-contrast keywords are similardifferentdespite, and like.

  • Sequential

    Sequential connections describe the chronology, or order, in which the items are arranged or occur. Keywords include firstsecondfollowing, and after.

Explicit Connections Questions

Some Connections questions will ask about explicit information; the question stem will provide one part of the relationship and ask you to find the other part. In an explicit Connections question, the wording of the correct answer will be very similar to the wording of the passage.


Don’t forget Step 2 of the Kaplan Method for Reading Comprehension: Examine the question stem.

Implicit Connections Questions

Questions about implicit connections, like those about explicit connections, ask you to identify how items are related. However, unlike explicit Connections questions, an implicit Connections question requires you to find a relationship that may not be directly stated in the passage.
When answering Implicit Connections questions, describe the relationship being tested in your own words by using keywords such as because, although, and in order to.

Expert Tip

Eliminating answer choices that are clearly wrong will help you answer even the toughest Implicit Connections questions correctly.

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