One of the reasons you’re finding it hard to boost your ACT Reading test score is that the questions in this section deal more with meaning compared with other ACT subjects. Unlike on Math or English questions, it would be difficult to apply a set of formulas or rules to answer ACT Reading test. Also, Unlike in the ACT Science test problems you can’t apply visual pattern recognition as well as graph interpretation skills to the passages in the Reading section.
However, with practice, you can develop your skills to improve your scores. You can also use these ACT Reading test tips below:
1. Find the point of view of the author when reading passages
ACT Reading test tip: Don’t get lost in the details by reading too quickly because you might miss some important information. You have to know the roles of each paragraph and look for the author’s point of view. It also helps to mark the location of important details in case you need to come back to it later.
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2. Highlight anything that appears important
Look for words or sentences that reveal the opinion of the author or express the main idea of the paragraphs. You can also write important notes on your test booklets to help you remember useful details. Encircle or highlight 3 to 5-word summaries of each paragraph. But, don’t get so carried away with your highlighting or you might run out of time.
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3. Time yourself as you take your ACT Reading practice test
Don’t spend more than 3 minutes on reading and marking each passage or you might not have enough time to answer all the ACT reading test questions. But as you progress through your ACT Reading practice tests, you’ll be more confident and become more precise with the timing in taking notes and answering questions.
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4. Do numerous ACT Reading practice tests
Get your ACT Reading practice test forms from an ACT practice book that you can find in a bookstore or a local library. You can also download it online. Now, find a spot to answer your ACT reading practice test. Get rid of any distractions and turn on your timer so you can check how you are doing. Make sure you answer all the ACT Reading test questions. You need to practice many times!
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5. Know the ACT Reading test structure
The ACT Reading test is the third section of the ACT test. It is a 35-minute test that kicks off immediately after a 10-minute break. The ACT Reading test contains four passages with 10 test questions each and has forty multiple-choice questions. The four passages in the ACT Reading test come in Prose, Fiction, Natural Sciences, Social Studies, and Humanities. As the test allows you to do the four ACT Reading passages in any order, you can start with the topic you are most familiar with.
6. Always follow ACT reading comprehension procedure
A. Read the passage and then write down notes next to each paragraph.
Keep your attention on the topic as well as the purpose of the passage.
B. Read each test question and pinpoint useful clues.
Write down the keywords and references that can help you locate the answer.
C. Predict the answer before looking at the answer choices.
7. Go back to the passage for the vocabulary in the topic questions
Most words can change meanings based on how they are used in a sentence. Never assume the correct answer is the common definition of the word. Check the passage again to find out how that word is used in the context.
8. Predict a possible answer before looking at the choices
Before looking at the ACT Reading answer choices, it is better to predict a possible answer by understanding the context of the passage. Then compare the answer choices with your prediction. This way, you can save time. An ACT Reading test tip: don’t waste your time weighing the choices, choose the best answer and then move on.
9. Simplify complicated questions
If you encounter a confusing or unclear ACT Reading test question, rephrase it.
10. Always move on to the next passage after 9 minutes
The ACT Reading test allows you to answer 40 questions (10 questions each passage) in 35 minutes, which means you will have less than 9 minutes to answer each of the 4 passages, so it’s important to pace yourself while taking the ACT Reading test.
11. Do the passages in any order
Although the ACT Reading test contains 4 passages, that doesn’t mean you have to deal with them in the order they are presented.
ACT Reading test tip: Find out which passages are easier and which ones you find difficult during your ACT Reading practice test. For instance, if you find Prose fiction passages easier than Natural Science passages, do the Prose Fiction first and tackle the Natural Science later.
12. Don’t Get Stuck
If you find yourself getting stuck with a difficult passage, keep moving. You might be able to understand the text via context in the ACT Reading test. As you read the passage, try to find any transition words as these are hints that will reveal if there’s a change in ideas, characters, direction, etc. Read them to make it sure you stay on the topic throughout.