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How to Pass the Test When You Haven’t Read the Book

You kept putting off reading the book—now the test is tomorrow and you haven’t even cracked the cover! Here’s how to pass anyway.


  • Step 1: Search online Type the name of the book and 'essays' into your search engine, and you’ll find tons of information about the plot, characters, and subtext. Don’t trust everything you read, but figure out what the consensus seems to be.
  • Step 2: Get the study guide Buy a study guide for the book at a bookstore. Not only will it give you a detailed plot synopsis, but it should go through the main points of each chapter and provide insights.
  • Step 3: Log onto Amazon Look up the book on and read people’s reviews and opinions on the book. It’s like being in a book club—without actually going anywhere, talking to anyone, or reading a book!
  • TIP: If you’re taking a multiple choice test and have no idea of the answer, go for either B or C—research shows these are the correct answer more often than A and D.
  • Step 4: Read selectively Read the table of contents, the prologue, the first and last page of each chapter, and the last few pages. In ten minutes you’ll get the gist of the book.
  • Step 5: Find a movie See if the book was ever made into a movie. But be warned: Hollywood takes many liberties with literature—just because they all live happily ever after in the film doesn’t mean they do in the book.
  • FACT: Fewer than half of Americans over 18 read just for pleasure.

You Will Need

  • A study guide for the book
  • The actual unread book itself
  • An unethical nature

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