The ACT reading portion is an important part of the overall composite score. The lower your ACT reading score is, the worse your chances are of getting into a good school. Let’s look at some strategies which will help you improve in the reading section.
Firstly, make sure you are thorough with the official study material so that you are clear about the types of questions or passages you can expect in the actual test. Practice questions from question banks before taking timed practice tests.
Next, you should learn to save time for reading passages by changing your reading strategy. You should be able to read the passages quickly so that you don’t run out of time before getting through all the questions.
Unlike the ACT math test, the passage questions are not arranged in the order of difficulty. So, if you don’t complete all the questions in time, you could miss an easy question by the end that would have improved your overall performance. The trick to reading the passages quickly is by skimming paragraphs and not reading in great details.
For a passage with 80-90 lines, there will be around 10 questions. Many of these questions only ask about the point or central idea of the passage or even the tone of the author. The number of questions that need you to focus on extreme details, is very low.
So, it is a complete waste of time to read a passage line by line. Quickly skim the passage on the first read-through without focusing on every single line. Make sure you get a general understanding of the paragraphs and the overall passage.
It is advisable to finish reading the passage within three minutes. In case there is a question that refers to a line number, you can quickly go back to that line to pinpoint that answer. But, after spending 30 seconds, if you are not able to answer, you should skip it.
Also, run through enough practice sets so that you understand which lines in the passage have higher importance. This will help you concentrate on lines which will help you answer the questions that follow.
Another great strategy is quickly reading the questions before reading the passage. This helps you highlight important lines.
The next strategy is to eliminate the options from the given choices. Sometimes, it is obvious that the three other options are totally wrong. So, with practice, you should be to eliminate wrong choices and pinpoint correct answer choices. But remember that every single wrong choice can be eliminated without proper reasoning.
One thing to keep in mind, is that different strategies work for different students. All you need is practice so that you can try them out before using them in the actual exam.