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|If standardized reading tests were only about reading, most of us
could pass them easily with no preparation. However, these tests
go beyond simple reading; they cover what is known as 'critical
Reading critically means evaluating texts, looking beyond the
words, and sometimes even crawling inside the author's mind to
determine why s/he makes a certain statement. All texts are
written for a reason. For example, these paragraphs are an
attempt to explain why standardized reading tests are difficult.
The next paragraphs offer suggestions that may help you as you
prepare for your reading test.
One of the most important things you can do to prepare for
PRAXIS I, or any other standardized test, is to learn the format:
understand the directions, become familiar with the questions
types, fully comprehend the words that are regularly used in the
To practice critical reading skills, you need look no further than
your local newspaper. Read the editorial page regularly. The
letters to the editor contain a variety of material for learning to
question the written word. As you read a letter, ask yourself
what is fact and what is opinion. Take some time to wonder
what the writer is like, and why s/he wrote the letter. Decide if
the writer is angry, puzzled, pleased, or complimentary.
Once you get the hang of this, start looking at the letters from
the editor in the same way. See if the opinions stated in the letter
show up in the news articles. Try comparing a news item from
one newspaper to the same item in another. You may be
surprised by the difference!
reading with your
Question what you