Important Words to Recognize on the DAT Reading Section

Often times on DAT reading passages, certain words and phrases will be used to convey the structure of the passage. By understanding what these words signify, you can more easily understand the structure of the reading passage. Here is a list of words you should look out for in DAT reading passages.

Names

You should always pay attention to names of people, places, and things. It’s likely they’ll be used as keywords in questions.

List Markers

If you see words like “first, second, third”, pay attention as the author is usually providing a lot of examples and reasons for their argument. Don’t get lost in the details in the dense paragraph, imagine that each marker is a bullet point.

Transition Words

This is the cream of the crop of the DAT reading section. A lot of inference questions are pulled from these sections. Often, a chain of reasoning will continue to be emphasized and supported or change directions. The author will usually reveal a lot about their argument when they start using the following words.

These words signify a change in the author’s argument:

yet
but
nevertheless
however
although
despite
in contrast
nonetheless
even though

These words signify a continuation of the author’s argument and usually contain supporting examples:

also
additionally
furthermore
in addition to
plus

Conclusions

Normally, you can find the author’s “main idea” and “main point” in the conclusion of an argument. If you see these words, the author is probably writing a conclusion and will reveal their main idea:

clearly
therefore
thus
in summary
in conclusion (this is an easy one to spot)

Attention words

If you see these words, the author is about to reveal something critical. Pay extra attention to these parts of the passage.

crucial
most importantly
key
especially
primarily
in particular
strangely
interestingly
notably