What is the SHSAT ELA section?
The ELA section of the exam has 57 questions. Of these, 3-5 are revising/editing sentences, 6-8 are revising/editing passages, and the remaining 46 questions are devoted to reading comprehension. The suggested time for the ELA section is 90 minutes, but if you know that you take longer to answer reading comprehension questions, perhaps you can take a bit of time from the math section. Again, it’s up to you!
This part of the exam asks you to apply English conventions to revise passages and standalone sentences, but it also tests you on a variety of topics: science, social studies, humanities, poetry, and literary fiction. The four types of reading comprehension questions are global, detail, inference, and function. We will discuss those more below.
- Ask yourself whether there are specific words or phrases that make sentences harder to read or understand
- Could some sentences be written more clearly with less words?
- Do some sentences seem illogical or redundant? Take notes of issues.
- Make sure you read each word carefully and re-read if necessary. Sometimes small words are the issue with the sentence, and we miss them.
- Read the passage carefully – don’t just skim. This will help you avoid making assumptions. Remember, you should only answer questions based on the passage, not on your prior knowledge.
- Try to summarize each paragraph on its own in order to help you put the pieces together to form a complete idea.
- If you don’t have much time left and cannot figure out some final questions, don’t be afraid to make an educated guess. You won’t be penalized for incorrect answers, but you will gain points for correct answers. Even if you are making an educated guess, you will have a 25% chance of getting the problem right.
There are four types of questions in the reading comprehension subsection of the ELA section.
- Global: these questions ask about central ideas.
- Detail: these questions ask about specific details, quotes, or figures in the text.
- Inference: these questions ask you to extend the knowledge you’ve gained through the text to make an educated inference.
- Function: these questions ask you to make a judgment about the purpose of a certain decision the author has made.
Learn more about the exam and the ELA section specifically in our SHSAT guide.