ACT Study Guide : How to Prep for ACT Reading

ACT ReadingThe ACT Reading Test is designed to test a student’s ability to understand the purpose, main idea and author’s opinion of four core areas of subject matter, written about in specific passages, with multiple choice questions that follow. The ACT Reading portion is based on content covered in typical high school curriculums, but it also pays to do ACT prep work on your own to improve reading scores. 

There are several keys that make the ACT Reading test more accessible to students at every level. Review these tips and then see MTP’s ACT Study Guide for a complete list of tips to review to help you prepare. 

The Four Sections 

Reading is just one of the four sections on the test. The test itself is separated into four distinct types of reading passages covering the following study areas: natural science, social studies, humanities and prose. Each area requires a specific focus to score well. Natural science questions focus on relationships between science based experiments, natural phenomenon and cause and effect scenarios. Social studies questions relate to events, research, contain important details and lack strong points of view. While Humanities questions are concerned with relationships between people and ideas or concepts and events, like art. Prose passages will be filled with emotion, tone and important events and notable relationships. 

Tips to Prepare 

Test questions require reading passages and answering several questions related to each passage. Prepare to answer each section of questions by first reading any introductory information. In order to save time, you can read the passages quickly and scan for important information. As you’re doing this, you can underline important details and come back quickly to that information when answering the questions. You can also answer the easier questions first in order to save more time. 

Scoring & Strategy 

The overall score of the ACT Reading Test is tallied based on the number of questions answered correctly. Unlike the SAT, there is no penalty for guessing and therefore it is a good strategy. The process of elimination helps students eliminate the two most improbable answers choices and increases the odds of choosing the correct answer, saving time and makes guessing more effective. Also, be wary of “answer traps” where answers are given that seem reasonable, but really have nothing to do with the content of the passage. 

ACT English Grammar Rules 

Preparing for the ACT Reading test includes diligent memorization and practice of the correct uses of common words, phrases and terms. Many of these terms are similar, interchangeable and are commonly misused. Examples are words like “except” and “accept,” or when to use terms like “all together” and “altogether.” Spend time reviewing these key english grammar rules to improve scores and save time on the ACT Reading test. 

ACT Reading can be simple if you know what to prepare for. Use these guidelines and our complete ACT Study Guide in order to prep completely.

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