Methods for ACT English Test

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STEP 1: READ UNTIL YOU HAVE ENOUGH INFORMATION TO IDENTIFY THE ISSUE

The instructions on the ACT will tell you to read the whole passage and then answer the questions about it, but remember: You get points for answering questions, not for reading passages. So to balance your time in favor of the questions, read the passage just as far as necessary to answer each question, and then answer them in turn. That being said, don't skip over sentences without questions in them—you'll need to understand the whole passage when you answer summary questions at the end. But for some questions, you'll only need to read a sentence to find the issue being tested. (Keep in mind, issues are not necessarily errors, because some sentences have no errors, and some English questions test your understanding of the passage as a whole.)

STEP 2: ELIMINATE CHOICES THAT DO NOT ADDRESS THE ISSUE

Now that you've identified the issue that the question is testing, read through the answers to see which ones do not address the issue, and cross them out in your book (really do cross them out—this will help you keep track of which answers can't be right and will help you guess strategically if needed). Once you've eliminated any choices that don't fix the issue, if you aren't ready to answer, move on to Step 3.

STEP 3: PLUG IN THE REMAINING CHOICES TO SELECT THE MOST CORRECT, CONCISE, AND RELEVANT CHOICE

Finally, try out the remaining choices by plugging them into the sentence or paragraph and seeing how they work. This may mean reading the questions without the underlined phrase to see if OMIT is the best choice. Remember: the best choice will always be correct (grammatically), concise (short and sweet), and relevant (makes sense with the rest of the passage). Make these three words the cornerstone of your decision-making in the English section. When in doubt, just remember correct, concise, and relevant.

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