The ACT Reading section is often seen as one of the most challenging parts of the test. With four lengthy reading passages and just 35 minutes to complete them, the pressure is on. Each passage has 10 questions, leaving you around 8-9 minutes each. But don’t be disheartened; we’ve got you covered! This comprehensive blog will discuss four highly effective strategies to improve your ACT Reading score and help you confidently approach this section.
1. Read the Text Thoroughly; Don’t Skim It
One common pitfall students encounter in the ACT Reading section is the temptation to skim through passages to save time. While skimming might seem time-efficient, it can lead to comprehension gaps and hurt your overall score. Instead, commit to reading each passage carefully. Focus on understanding the author’s main ideas, arguments, and text structure.
To effectively implement this strategy:
- Begin by reading the passage, aiming for full comprehension.
- Pay attention to the author’s tone, mood, and perspective, as these can provide valuable context for understanding the text.
- Mark important information or critical ideas as you read to aid in referencing when answering questions.
Reading carefully ensures a solid grasp of the passage’s content and makes answering questions much more straightforward.
2. Knock Out the Local Question Types First
The ACT Reading section features a variety of question types, including those that require you to locate specific information within the passage. These are local questions and reference particular lines or paragraphs within the passage. Prioritizing local questions before tackling the global ones can save you valuable time and increase your accuracy.
To excel with this strategy:
- Start by identifying the local questions in each passage. These often include questions about vocabulary, direct quotes, and line references.
- Answer these questions first while the information is fresh in your mind and easily accessible within the text.
By addressing local questions promptly, you can secure quick points and ensure you get all the easy marks.
3. Know Where the Main Idea Hangs Out
One of the key elements in successfully navigating the ACT Reading section is understanding the main idea of each passage. The main idea is your guiding compass, helping you navigate the passage and answer questions. To pinpoint the main idea, look for sentences or paragraphs that encapsulate the central theme or argument of the passage. These are often found at the passage’s beginning and/or end but can also appear in transitional sentences.
To master this strategy:
- As you read, make a conscious effort to identify the main idea. This forms the foundation for comprehending the author’s purpose, tone, and overall message.
- Remember that recognizing the main idea is not limited to identifying a single sentence; it might involve understanding the broader context and argument of the passage.
The main idea serves as a reference point for answering a wide range of questions, making it a critical aspect of your reading strategy.
4. Eliminate the Three Wrong Answers
The ACT Reading section presents multiple-choice questions, providing one correct answer and three distractors (incorrect answers). Rather than fixating on finding the correct answer immediately, a more effective approach is to eliminate the incorrect choices. This methodical process of elimination can significantly improve your chances of selecting the correct answer.
To excel with this strategy:
- Review the question and consider what you know from carefully reading the passage.
- Cross-reference each answer choice with the information you have gathered. Focus on eliminating incorrect choices based on the passage’s content.
Even if you are uncertain about the correct answer, confidently eliminate one or more wrong choices. This increases the likelihood of selecting the right answer.
Improving your ACT Reading score is achievable when you adopt these four strategic approaches. Remember that practice and consistency will be crucial in your test prep study plan. You can significantly enhance your performance in this challenging section by reading passages thoroughly, prioritizing local questions, identifying the main idea, and honing your skills at eliminating incorrect answers.
Here at iAchieve Learning, we recognize the significance of effective test preparation. Our experienced test prep instructors are not only well-versed in the question types of the ACT but also equipped with specific strategies applicable to all sections. We provide our students with a comprehensive 5-page Strategies Packet that is a valuable reference throughout their test preparation.
If you want to boost your ACT Reading score and overall test performance, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our tailored test prep packages are designed to empower students with the knowledge and skills needed for success. Contact iAchieve Learning today and take the first step towards achieving excellence on the ACT.