Unit 44: Dual Passages

You will most likely see at least one question that has a dual, or paired, passage on the test. This consists of two passages, written by different authors, on the same subject. These passages will never be fiction and won’t include any graphics. Unlike many of the other passages on the reading/writing section of the SAT, these questions won’t have a sentence or two providing context for the passages.

Here is an example:

Text 1:

Dr. Lee’s extensive research on urban green spaces covers several major cities. Her findings indicate that these spaces are not just aesthetic enhancements but also crucial for environmental health. Parks and gardens, she notes, play a vital role in absorbing carbon dioxide, providing oxygen, and supporting biodiversity. In her comprehensive study, Dr. Lee illustrates how urban greenery contributes to overall ecological balance and offers a natural solution to some of the pressing environmental issues faced by modern cities.

Text 2:

Mr. Gomez, focusing on urban planning, argues that while green spaces are beneficial, they are not the primary solution to urban environmental challenges. He points to the need for integrating sustainable architectural practices and innovative building technologies, which he believes have a more immediate and significant impact on addressing environmental concerns in urban settings.

Based on the texts, how would Dr. Lee most likely respond to Mr. Gomez’s perspective (Text 2)?

A) She would agree that sustainable architecture is important, but emphasize the indispensable role of green spaces in urban ecology.
B) She would dismiss the relevance of architectural solutions, focusing solely on the benefits of green spaces.
C) She would concede that green spaces have a limited role in urban environmental health.
D) She would advocate for replacing green spaces with more advanced technological solutions.

Strategy:

  1. Carefully read the first passage.
  2. Write a quick sentence about what the author of the passage believes (e.g. “This author believes only landowners should have the right to vote”).
  3. Repeat this process for the second passage.
  4. Determine the relationship between the two passages. Are they opposing, complementary, or do they address different aspects of the same topic?
  5. Analyze the question. Focus on what the question is asking. It may require you to compare the passages, determine how one author would respond to the other’s argument, or synthesize information from both. Choose the option that best aligns with the relationship between the passages and directly answers the question, backed by evidence from both texts.

The key to successfully answering these questions is to understand the individual perspective or conclusion presented in each passage so that you can accurately compare them to each other. Read both texts carefully, noting the main argument, evidence, and tone of each.

Let’s apply this strategy to the example above.

  1. Read and Interpret Text 1: After carefully reading Text 1, we understand that Dr. Lee strongly supports the environmental benefits of urban green spaces.
  2. Read and Interpret Text 2: After a close reading of Text 2, we see that Mr. Gomez emphasizes sustainable architecture and building technologies as solutions to urban environmental challenges.
  3. Determine the Relationship: The passages present complementary yet distinct perspectives on addressing urban environmental issues. Text 1 focuses on urban green spaces while Text 2 focuses more on sustainable architecture and building technologies. They do not agree on the solution.
  4. Analyze the Question: The question asks how Dr. Lee (Text 1) would respond to Mr. Gomez’s perspective (Text 2).
  5. Select the Best Answer: Our answer should combine Dr. Lee’s emphasis on green spaces with Mr. Gomez’s focus on architecture. Choice A is the best answer. Dr. Lee would agree that sustainable architecture is important, but emphasize the indispensable role of green spaces in urban ecology. This choice aligns with Dr. Lee’s research while acknowledging Mr. Gomez’s points.
    • Choice B is incorrect because it misrepresents her support for urban green spaces as a lack of support for sustainable architecture and building technologies.
    • Choice C is incorrect because Dr. Lee believes that urban green spaces are vital to environmental health, thus she would not concede their lack of importance.
    • Choice D is incorrect because Dr. Lee believes that urban green spaces are the solution to environmental issues, so she would not instead advocate for replacing green spaces with more advanced technological solutions.