PSAT Reading: Command of Evidence Questions

PSAT Reading: Command of Evidence Questions

A Command of Evidence question on the PSAT relies on your answer to the question that precedes it. These questions require you to identify the portion of the text that provides the best evidence for the conclusion you reached when selecting your answer to the previous question.

Kaplan’s Strategy for Command of Evidence questions involves retracing your steps; that is, you must return to the previous question to ensure you answer the Command of Evidence question correctly.

To answer Command of Evidence questions efficiently and correctly, employ the following Kaplan Strategy:

  • Review

    When you see a question asking you to choose the best evidence to support your answer to the previous question, review how you selected that answer.

  • Avoid

    Avoid answers that provide evidence for incorrect answers to the previous question.

  • Support

    The correct answer will support why the previous question’s answer is correct.

Expert Tip

Command of Evidence questions ask that you cite the textual evidence that best supports, disputes, strengthens, or weakens a given claim or point. Whether the argument is supported or not, the use of textual evidence is the same. The evidence can be personal stories, scientific facts, tone, writing style, and infographics. It is important to identify the appropriate aspect of the text used for Command of Evidence questions and not to make assumptions beyond what is written.

The first step to approaching a Command of Evidence question is to make sure you answered the previous question—no matter its type—correctly. If you answer the question preceding a Command of Evidence question incorrectly, you have a smaller chance of selecting the correct answer.


There is no wrong answer penalty on the PSAT, so even if you have no idea of how to approach a question, take your best guess and move on.

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