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Good SAT scores require a strong SAT Reading score. Covering fictional, social science, historical, and scientific texts, the SAT Reading section necessitates a developed critical reading ability. The best way to develop this skill is to read a wide variety of challenging texts in the months and years leading up to your SAT. Reading such material also has very strong benefits for your school classwork, future university work, and general thinking and debate skills.

We have broken down the SAT Reading section into genres with suggestions for your summer reading. The more time you can devote to reading complex literature, the better prepared you will be for autumn testing and applications. Remember, the most competitive schools have the most competitive applicants who are consistently expanding and deepening their critical thinking skills. The list below will help you join them.


SAT Reading fiction texts can come from any century between 18th and 21st, dropping you at a point in the middle of the narrative. Our twentieth and twenty-first century recommendations include:

  • Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale
  • Eleanor Catton, The Luminaries
  • Teju Cole, Open City
  • Saul Bellow, Seize the Day
  • Jorges Luis Borges, Labyrinth
  • Octavia Butler, Parable of the Sower
  • Jamaica Kincaid, My Brother
  • Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye
  • John Steinbeck, Grapes of Wrath
  • Virginia Woolf, Mrs Dalloway

For the nineteenth century, novels by Jane Austen, the Brönte sisters, and George Elliot are fantastic places to start. From the eighteenth century, speeches and writings by Thomas Paine and Mary Wollstonecraft (available for free on Gutenberg) provide both an excellent introduction to writing style as well as insight into pivotal contemporary social thought.

Social Science:

Articles and opinion pieces from The Atlantic, Economist, Guardian, Independent, New Yorker, Times, Washington Post etc. will provide strong basis for the Humanities and Social Science passages. We recommend reading at least one per day. This also keeps you abreast of contemporary events.


Science articles are the trickiest to come by as many are behind pay walls or require a prohibitively high level of existing scientific knowledge. Nature and Science are the most reputable journals that occasionally publish open access articles. However, by building the reading skills from the suggested texts in the other areas, you greatly strengthen your aptitude for Science too.

Put this all into practice by booking a proctored practice test with A-List Education to sit a time SAT under replicated test conditions and receive tailored feedback and guidance by working with one of our esteemed private tutors. Contact our Client Services Team today.

 Summer Reading Plan to Improve Your SAT Reading Score
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