To master the ACT, students must be able to process information quickly and efficiently. They must apply skills and strategies concurrently. They must make choices, calculations and even guesses with toughness, tenacity, and fortitude. There is much information students need to know to truly master the ACT. They will find, when taking the ACT, that time can be the cruelest adversary of all, so strategies that save time will play a crucial role in their success.
ACT English: Use the Two-Step Solution: 1) Students can often distinguish right from wrong by sounding out the answer choices. Since the correct choice is always provided alongside several incorrect choices, a quick read-through and elimination of choices that sound obviously incorrect is quite effective. 2) Once this initial procedure is completed, finding the correct answer is merely a matter of comparing the remaining choices to identify the specific issue being tested. For example, if two remaining choices begin “having been” and “has been,” it should be clear that verb tense is the issue being tested. Armed with that knowledge, a student can quickly determine which form fits the passage.
ACT Math: ACT test takers should spend time fine-tuning their “critical reading” skills for math questions. It may seem odd to focus on reading in math, but the stems on the ACT are much more convoluted than the stems on the SAT. Students can and should “believe their eyes” when evaluating a drawn figure and gauging an answer. Many test-prep books do not catch on to ACT’s odd rigidity about scale.
ACT Reading: Skim the passage and create a road map to the author’s ideas contained in each part of the passage. Do so by summarizing each paragraph with a short phrase. This is referred to as Trigger Phrasing. Trigger Phrasing responds to the nature of these questions perfectly, giving students a critical edge in a section that allows them a mere nine minutes to read 800 words and answer 10 questions.
ACT Science: To succeed on the ACT Science Test, students must develop the ability to quickly analyze and synthesize information from multiple sources. Pay close attention to each table’s x- and y-axis titles, main title, data scale and key. To understand contrasting viewpoints, students should first identify the perspectives of those viewpoints. For example, two sports fans arguing over which is the best team of all time are both likely to be sports fans, but with different perspectives. Perhaps they grew up as fans of different teams. Similarly, two scientists who interpret data differently are most likely drawing conclusions based on past experience.