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ACT TEST PREP

Reading Strategies
Tracee Orman, 2015

The ACT reading test consists of


four reading passages.
Each passage has 10
questions.

The time allotted is

35 Minutes

That is just
8 minutes and 45 seconds
per passage.

TIME is essential.

General TIME-SAVING
Tips for ALL Reading
Passages

Time-Saving Tips

1. Answer the
questions in order,
but SKIP the hard
ones.

Time-Saving Tips

2. About four (or so)


questions in each passage
will REFER back to the text.
These are straightforward
questions that reference a
specific paragraph or
sentence in the passage.

Time-Saving Tips

3. About six of the ten


questions will require
you to use reasoning to
find the answer. These
will be more difficult.

Time-Saving Tips

4. Cross out answers


you know are wrong.

Time-Saving Tips

5. Use context clues! For


the questions that refer to
a specific line in the text
and ask you to infer the
meaning of a word used,
read the sentences before
and after that line to gain
context of that word.

Time-Saving Tips

6. Also, if a question
specifically states in the
context of a certain line,
paragraph, or passage, DONT
use context outside of that
for your answer.

Time-Saving Tips

7. Save the EXCEPT or


NOT questions for last.
They take longer to find
because you have to search
for the answer that is NOT
referred to in the text.
In your practice booklet, six of the 40 are
these types of questions: #2, 3, 5, 16, 19,
and 30.

Time-Saving Tips

8. Start with the


reading passage that
is your STRONGEST
area.

Types of
Reading Passages

Four Different Reading


Passages
Social
Prose/
Science Humanities
Fiction
(Literary (Social
Narrative) Studies)

Natural
Science

Prose/Fiction Tips - Page 32


Prose/
Fiction
(Literary
Narrative)

1. If you love reading


novels, short stories,
memoirs, personal
essays, and/or
narratives, start

with this passage.

Prose/Fiction Tips
2. Youll be interpreting
a short story or
Prose/
excerpt from a novel.
Fiction
Many questions will
(Literary
ask
you
to
infer
(or,
Narrative)
what can be inferred
from) the passage, or
read between the lines.
(#4, #7)

Prose/Fiction Tips
Prose/
Fiction
(Literary
Narrative
)

3. Questions will
require you to
interpret:
-Point of view (#1)
-Relationships
between characters
-Imagery

Prose/Fiction Tips
Prose/
Fiction
(Literary
Narrative)

As you read, consider


what the narrator is

THINKING
and FEELING

Social Studies Tips - Page 34

1. If you love history,


Social
Studies

archeology, business,
economics, geography,
education, psychology,
or political science,
you may want to read

this passage first.

Social Studies Tips


2. Social science is the study
of relationships between
individuals or groups of
people. Relationships
Social
mainly refer to problems.
Studies
Be aware of conflicts,
disagreements, social
issues, diseases, wars, etc.

Social Studies Tips


3. Types of Questions:
-Problem/solution
(cause/effect or impact)
#17
Social -Main purpose/point,
Studies main idea, or the
authors claim (opinion
or stance) #11, #14, #15
-Draw conclusions #13

Social Studies Tips

Social
Studies

As you read,
underline,
circle, and star
problems, arguments,
effects, and terms.

Humanities Tips - Page 36

Humanities

1. If you love
architecture, art, dance,
ethics, film, language,
music, philosophy,
radio, television,
theater, you may want to

read this passage


first.

Humanities Tips

Humanities

2. The passages will


be from memoirs
and personal
essays.

Humanities Tips

Humanities

3. Questions will
require you to
interpret:
-Point of view (#21)
-Purpose (#23)
-Authors choices
(language/word
choices) (#27)
-Tone (#29)

Humanities Tips

Humanities

As you read, keep in


mind the authors
point of view, which
would include
his/her PURPOSE for
writing the piece.
(#21)

Humanities Tips

Humanities

Because most of the


pieces selected for the
Humanities section are
personal essays and
memoirs, the authors
purpose is mainly
reflecting on a time or
moment in their life.

Natural Science Tips - Page 38


1. If you love anatomy,
astronomy, biology,
chemistry, ecology,
medicine,
meteorology,
Natural
Science natural history, physics,
or technology, you may
want to read this

passage first.

Natural Science Tips


2. The passages will
contain many
technical words and
will have a serious
Natural
Science
tone. They will
include mainly
informational texts.

Natural Science Tips

Natural
Science

3. Questions will have


you answer include:
-Main idea (#31)
-Main purpose (#33)
-Cause/effect (#32)
-Compare/contrast
-Vocabulary in
context (#36, #37)
-Drawing conclusions
(#39, #40)

Natural Science Tips


Natural
Science

As you read,
underline,
circle, and star
technical terms,
facts/details,
theories, and
comparisons.

Natural Science Tips


Natural
Science

Unlike the other


passages, many of
the answers in this
section will be in
order (first answers
found in first part
of text, etc.)

TIME to PRACTICE!

FIND YOUR STRENGTHS


TIME YOURSELF:
Do each passage SEPARATELY, and
see how long each one takes you to
complete. If any take longer than
8:45, you need to speed it up. The
passage that takes the least amount
of time + has the most correct
answers is most likely your
strongest area.

FINAL TIP

BY FAR the BEST


practice to improve
your reading score is
to simply

READ MORE.

-Read the news every day.


-Read articles from science
magazines.
-Read novels/short stories.
-Read challenging texts.

Helpful Links
Additional Practice Tests
http://www.actstudent.org/sampletest/reading/re
ad_01.html
PDF copy of 2014-2015 practice test:
http://www.actstudent.org/testprep/

Read More!
Classic Literature
http://www.gutenberg.org/browse/scores/top

Disclaimer: This is not affiliated with ACT or any of its associates or subsidiaries.
It is for educational purposes only.