How to answer "Find the Evidence" questions on the SAT Reading section

One of the most unique features of the SAT Reading section is the "Find the Evidence" question type. The Evidence questions ask you to identify where evidence is given in the passage to support the answer to a corresponding Anchor question. Anchor and Evidence pairs are important not only because they’re likely to come up multiple times throughout the Reading section, but also because the lines of evidence can be used as tools to double check your answers to the previous questions. That means you double your return on investment when you get them right! It’s therefore a good idea to develop a consistent, reliable approach to these questions.

Step 1: Identify and group them right away.

After you’ve read an SAT Reading passage, go through the questions and locate all the Anchor and Evidence pairs. The Evidence questions are easy to spot because they always reference the “previous question”. They also always feature line references in the answer choices.


Find the Evidence 1

Next, group each Evidence question with its preceding Anchor question by drawing brackets around them to remind yourself that these questions go together.


Find the Evidence 2

Step 2: Evidence.

Read the Anchor question prompt without looking at the answer choices.

Then, check each line reference in the Evidence answer choices, eliminating lines that do not answer the Anchor question prompt.

This method may feel backwards to you, but it's a great way to save time and improve your accuracy. By tackling the questions in this order, you can avoid getting tricked by Anchor answer choices that look appealing but are not supported by lines of evidence.

Step 3: Anchor.

Finally, compare the remaining line references from the Evidence question to the answer choices in the Anchor question. The correct Evidence will always (1) answer the Anchor question prompt and (2) match one of the Anchor answer choices. Eliminate options that do not have matches.

Now that we know how to approach "Find the Evidence" questions, let’s look at a sample mini passage and some corresponding questions:

Find the Evidence 3

After reading the Anchor question prompt ("Why does Willa believe that her father will not stop her from leaving the room?"), we'll look at the line references in the Evidence question. Options A and C describe Willa's walk but don't tell us why her father won't stop her. Option B could be a good fit, so we'll hold on to that one. Option D emphasizes that Willa feels her walk out of the room is the only thing her father can't control, but this still doesn't quite answer the preceding question. This leaves us with option B.

Now that we have our lines of evidence, it’s time to return to the Anchor question. Since we've already identified the exact portion of the passage that supports our answer to this question, selecting an answer choice should be a breeze. Indeed, only option C is a match, referring to the father's stubbornness.

As you can see, "Find the Evidence" pairs are not all that different from regular reading comprehension questions. Though they do require a bit of coordination between questions, they still hinge on the ability to carefully identify the reasoning behind each answer choice.

For more tips, download our guide to the 6 skills you need to master for the SAT.

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Erin Ohsie-Frauenhofer

About Erin Ohsie-Frauenhofer

As one of the highest-performing tutors in ArborBridge’s history, Erin coaches tutors and develops tools and trainings to disrupt old habits and empower new strengths. With a Master of Arts in Teaching from Brown University, Erin worked as a classroom teacher and student services director prior to joining ArborBridge in 2017. Her decade of success as an educator has prepared her to ensure that programs are tailored to individual students’ needs.

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