If you're preparing for the ACT exam, learning specific test-taking strategies for each section of the exam can make a big difference. This is particularly true when it comes to the ACT reading section.
Here are some test-taking strategies ACT prep tutors use to help students improve their reading scores.
Your biggest enemy on the ACT test is likely to be the ticking clock. Because the reading section will include several reading passages of varying lengths and reading levels, learning to optimize your time can help you boost your score.
The ACT reading section can have a numbing effect on students. As you attempt to plow through each reading passage, you're likely to be distracted by the looming questions, impending deadline, and your performance on previous sections of the test. You can stay present and process what you're reading by taking a more active approach. This active approach requires you to annotate the passage you read. Many ACT prep tutors encourage students to use basic annotation markings. For instance, you might circle words or vocabulary you don't understand, while you might box proper nouns (names, places, titles, etc.) you see the passage. The beauty of active reading is that it allows you to isolate important information when you're tackling the questions about the passage.
Prepare to Skip
You are unlikely to know every term you encounter in the reading section. Wasting time on questions that seem impossible can prevent you from answering questions you might know later in the reading section. Many ACT prep tutors have students practice skipping questions on practice tests. To practice skipping questions, try reading a passage and then rating the subsequent questions based on your level of confidence in answering each question correctly. If you're able to consistently answer the questions you feel confident about, you'll be in the habit of using your time wisely when you take the actual test.
Practice Over Studying
The ACT test is designed to be a measurement of skill more than knowledge. Thus, attempting to study a thick stack of vocabulary flashcards is unlikely to improve your reading score. Many Act prep tutors encourage students to take a few practice tests leading up to the exam. When you take your practice tests, reflect on the types of questions you consistently get correct versus the questions you consistently miss. In many cases, students struggle with the reading section because they don't read the questions or passages completely.
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