Why am I having trouble with the critical reading section?

We have all been there. You open the book, read the first paragraph, and all you see is a blur. You try to go back and “really” pay attention, but there’s no use- it feels like your reading comprehension skills have slammed against a big, boring wall.

Some students like to warn me that they are “just bad readers.” They tell me that they are “math-brained….” whatever that means.

Some would lead you to believe that people are just “wired” for reading, and some for reading. And if you don’t have the skills, just chalk it up to genetics.

At Tricycle Learning, we take a different approach. We believe that all students have the capacity to do great in all sections of the test. In fact, we see our students increase their scores on a consistent basis.

How do we do it? We get your brain into shape.

Here is a tough question: What is the last book that you read, from beginning to end? Before you answer, think about the last book that you read THAT WAS NOT ASSIGNED BY YOUR SCHOOL.

Are you having a tough time? Don’t feel bad. Many students cannot remember the last time they actually read for pleasure. This is both sad, and a great explanation for why students don’t do well on the Critical Reading Section of standardized exams. Their brains are simply “out of shape.”

 Let’s put it another way: Most people are coming up with their New Year’s resolutions. For a vast majority of them, they want to “get into shape.” They want to look better, get healthier, and start the year off right.

 When was the last time you went outside and exercised for fun? When was the last time you (and maybe a friend) went out and played a sport together? A healthy body is one that is in motion. Being “in shape” means you use your body for movement. It means your body can endure strenuous challenges.

 Your “Reading muscle” works in the same way. If you are not actively engaged in mental exercises, then that muscle starts to deteriorate. In short, if you don’t use it, you lose it.


 Pick up a book you have always wanted to read, and read it (NOT a book that was assigned- you need to motivate yourself to read)

 Reading for pleasure is like going for a run- it engages the parts of our brain that are needed for the Critical Reading section. It increases our reading speed, and naturally strengthens our skills of inference and deduction.

Stop wishing for a better Critical Reading score. You can actively increase it today.

Get back to basics.