Tests Uncovered: Evidence Questions in Redesigned SAT Reading

Introducing ArborBridge's new blog series: "Tests Uncovered"

The biggest story in test prep these days is the changes coming to both the SAT and the ACT. The key to doing well is to know the changes inside and out. Every two weeks, we will delve deeply into one new aspect of the tests. We’ll explain what’s changing, what to expect, and how it will affect you.

Here's an overview of what the series will look like:

May & June: The redesigned SAT Reading Section
July & August: The new ACT (we'll discuss the small changes coming to the exam)
September & October: The redesigned SAT Math Section
November & December: The redesigned SAT Writing Section
January & February: The redesigned SAT Essay

This week we are going to take a closer look at the Evidence Questions on the redesigned SAT Reading section.

What does this question look like?

First, the test will ask a regular SAT question (we’ll call it the Anchor Question). Maybe it’ll be a question about the author’s tone or an inference you can draw from the passage.

After the Anchor Question will be a question asking you which lines in the passage “provide the best evidence for the answer to the previous question.” You’ll then see 4 line numbers listed as answer choices. This is the Evidence Question.


The author indicates that architectural trends of the nineteenth century, in comparison to the twentieth century, were

A) less innovative but equally important.
B) equally stagnant and less practical.
C) more influential and better directed.
D) more heterogeneous and less expensive.

Which choice proves the best evidence for the answer to the previous question?

A) Lines 4–5 (“Resilient . . . sacrifices”)
B) Lines 18–21 (“London’s . . . congestion”)
C) Lines 23–25 (“Increasingly . . . pragmatic”)
D) Lines 34–35 (“Yet scholars . . . irrevocably”)

Occasionally, the SAT will not bother with an Anchor Question. Instead the Evidence Question will contain a point made by the author and ask you to find lines in the passage where the author discusses the point.

Which choice best supports the argument that architecture is a reflect of thought rather than practice?

A) Lines 10–12 ("Heroic...change")
B) Lines 65–67 ("Challenging...ever")
C) Lines 68–72 ("Architects...evolve")
D) Lines 72–74 ("Without...form")

How often does this question appear?

These questions make up 10 out of the 52 Reading questions (19%).

How does this compare to the current SAT?

The current SAT doesn't have Evidence Questions. Instead, students are naturally expected to use the passage to answer basic questions like the Anchor Question. Adding these new Evidence Questions forces students to prove their answers and show that they went back to the passage.

What does this mean for students?

Don’t be frightened by these questions! They actually help students. By forcing you to go back and find the lines that support your answer to the Anchor Question, you get a second shot at getting the Anchor Question right. If none of the lines referenced in the Evidence Question fit your answer to the Anchor, you know your first answer was wrong.

It’s also helpful if you could only narrow it down to two answers on the Anchor Question. Looking at the lines that SAT writers thought were important in the Evidence Question will give you valuable clues for making a final decision on the Anchor Question.

Will this question be on the PSAT?

Absolutely. Expect the same number of Evidence Questions on the PSAT.


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Megan Stubbendeck

About Megan Stubbendeck

Dr. Megan Stubbendeck is an eight-year veteran of the test prep industry with ten years of teaching experience. She earned her PhD in History from the University of Virginia, where she taught for three years in the History Department. She has been part of the test prep industry since 2007 and has earned perfect scores on the SAT, ACT, GRE, and multiple AP exams. As the CEO of ArborBridge, Megan oversees all aspects of ArborBridge operations and helped to create our innovative curriculum.

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