One of the biggest changes to the new SAT has been the addition of reading passages taken from early 20th, 19th, and even 18th century writers. Dealing with these archaic and outdated dialects will most likely cause anxiety for many students, so what’s the best way to prepare for this somewhat demanding reading?

Honestly, the best way to deal with this difficult sort of reading is to tackle it head first.

Track down the older reading passages that can be found in test prep books like College Board’s The Official SAT Study Guide, Princeton Review’s Cracking the New SAT, and Kaplan’s SAT Premier, among other publications. There’s no better place to go than the actual source.

But what else can you do to prepare for the more traditional and older English vernacular?

It would highly benefit you to pick up and skim through some of the works by writers like Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice), Charlotte Bronte (Jane Eyre), Charles Dickens (A Tale of Two Cities / Great Expectations), and George Eliot – pen name for Mary Ann Evans – (Middlemarch).

Becoming comfortable with the more verbose and longwinded English parlance that was normal for writers many years ago will give you a leg up on the new SAT by helping you to prepare for that “heavier” reading that will inevitably appear within 1 or perhaps even 2 of the 5 reading passages on the new SAT Reading Section.

We’re not suggesting that you read all of these novels cover to cover since that would be crazy! But … sitting down and reading maybe a chapter or two a night from any of the selections above would definitely improve your ability to navigate through this trickier older English with more ease come test day.

Plus, who knows, maybe you’ll like the stories so much you’ll end up reading them to the end anyway!