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Biggest “Main Idea” Mistake

I get asked about “main idea” and “primary purpose” questions all the time for both the SAT & ACT.

While a complete answer on how to understand the “passage as a whole” is quite complicated (it’s partly a function of your reading comprehension ability, something that you develop over your many years of education!), I can help you avoid the biggest mistake that students make when answering these types of questions!

First, read this passage excerpt, and then try the question on your own.


Now watch the video for the answer explanation and the big mistake to avoid when answering questions like these. (Hint: Remember it’s about the passage as a WHOLE, not just an excerpt…)

About the Author:

I’m Rob Schombs, the founder of Reason Prep, creator of these videos, and your test prep tutor. I earned a BA in Chemistry (2006) and an MA in Science and Technology Studies (2009) from Cornell University. In 2010 I started tutoring SAT, ACT, math, chemistry, and writing full-time, and Reason Prep followed shortly after!