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How to Overcome the ACT

An ACT overview containing strategies.

Jeannette Alhelí

on 19 March 2017

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Transcript of How to Overcome the ACT

Introduction to ACT Prep.
What is the ACT?
The ACT is a standardized test used for college admission.
"A curriculum-based educational and career planning tool that assesses students' academic readiness for college."

Standardized tests are biased; they don't test your intelligence. The ACT, like other standardized tests, test how well you can take that test.

The objective of this workshop is to beat the ACT.
testing strategies
content review
What's on the ACT?
The ACT is comprised of four required tests and an optional one.

English (75 Questions in 45 Minutes)
Math (60 Questions in 60 Minutes)
Reading (40 Questions in 35 Minutes)
Science (40 Questions in 35 Minutes)

Writing (1 Essay in 40 Minutes)

Required sections of the ACT are scored on a scale of 1-36. Those four scores are then averaged to yield a composite score. For the ACT Plus Writing, you receive two scores a composite score and your Writing Test.
How is the ACT Scored?
Raw score
= the number of questions you answer correctly
Benchmark score
= indicates college readiness
English - 18, Reading - 22, Math - 22, Science - 23
To increase your composite score, focus on your strength.
Ms. Ortega
Know Your Competition!
Obstacle 1 - Time

English (75 Questions in 45 Minutes)
__ sec./question
Math (60 Questions in 60 Minutes)
__ min./question
Reading (40 Questions in 35 Minutes)
__ sec./question
Science (40 Questions in 35 Minutes)
__ sec./question

Obstacle 2 - Yourself

Relax and try your best!

ACT Strategies
1. Answer every question.
There's no penalty for guessing!

If you leave an answer blank, there is no possibility of receiving credit for that question. However, if you guess strategically on all the questions you don't understand or don't have time to do, then there's a possibility that you may get credit for some of those questions.

2. Personal Order of Difficulty (POOD)

Time constraints lead to careless errors. Read through a page of questions and utilize your POOD to identify
, and

questions, use Letter of the Day strategy.
Pick two letters and always choose them.
Effects of this technique?
ACT English Test
Tests your editing abilities, specifically your ability to spot errors in grammar and punctuation and to improve a passage's organization and style.

5 passages
and each is followed by about 15 questions.

Sections of each passage are underlined to indicate a question. The rest of the questions ask you to assess a paragraph or the passage.

Look through each passage and label your POOD. The passage with the most underlined sections tends to be the easiest; start there. The passages with longer questions will be harder.

As you read and reach an underlined section, answer the corresponding question.

Keep an even pace, don't stress over a single question.
ACT English Test
As you read the passage, work on the corresponding question. Remember to use your POOD.

1. Identify the topic

2. Use the context; don't skip reading the underlined section.

3. Use POE

4. Trust your ear, but verify.

5. Don't fix what isn't broken. Remember conciseness over style.
ACT Mathematics Test
33 Algebra questions
14 pre-algebra questions based on math terminology, basic number theory, and ability with fractions and decimals.
10 elementary algebra questions (inequalities, linear equations, ratios, percents, etc.)
9 intermediate algebra questions (exponents, roots, simultaneous equations, quadratic equations)

23 Geometry questions
14 plane geometry questions (angles, lengths, triangles, quadrilaterals, circles, perimeter, area, etc.)
9 coordinate geometry questions (slope, distance, midpoint, parallel, etc.)

4 Trigonometry questions
SOHCAHTOA, trig. identities, and graphing

You will not be provided with a formula sheet, but you are allowed to use an acceptable calculator.
Strategies for Math
pre-algebra, geometry, and trigonometry concepts.
Khan Academy: https://www.khanacademy.org/test-prep/sat

2. Use test-taking
Advantage: There's an established order of difficulty. The easy questions tend to be in the beginning and the harder questions at the end.
Go through a page at a time and label N, L, or X.
Use POE efficiently on your L-labeled questions
Ballpark (educated guess)
Use for X questions.

Although, the concepts for the math section are simple, the ACT makes it difficult through word problems.

How to Tackle Word Problems
Know the question.

Underline the actual question.

2. Look at the
and see if you can tell what concept is being tested.

3. Break the problem down.
How many steps will you need to do?
ACT Reading Test
The third section of the ACT has 40 questions in 35 minutes.
The passages appear in the following order:
Prose Fiction, Social Science, Humanities, and Natural Science.
Each is followed by 10 questions.

From each passage you're supposed to understand what is "directly states" and "implied meanings."
This becomes difficult in a timed environment. You are not reading to enjoy the passage, but to find the answer.


Tackle the passages using your POOD.
Read actively: meaning write in the booklet, underline, short notes
Passage with many small paragraphs > few large paragraphs
Questions with more line references and those with shorter answers are easier to answer
Questions on the Reading Test
Questions that refer directly to the text and ask about a likely definition or word choice.

Questions that ask you to summarize a paragraph or understand the implied meaning.

Reasoning questions that ask you to determine main idea, interpret details, understand sequence of events, draw generalizations, make comparisons, etc.

lead words
in both the question and passage. Lead words give a specific event, person, or word to focus on, while reading the passage.
ACT Science Test
The science sections tests your ability to find and understand information provided in: the text, graphs, illustrations, or charts.
Very few questions require outside knowledge.

Contains 6 or 7 passages for a total of 40 questions in 35 minutes.

Uses content from biology, chemistry, physics, and Earth science.
Types of Passages
1. Data Representation (Charts and Graphs)
3 Passages, 5 Question each

2. Experiments
3 Passages, 6 Questions each

3. Conflicting Viewpoints (Fighting Scientist)
1 passage, 7 Questions
Strategies for the Science Test
1. POOD- order the passages

For which passage will it be easiest for you to find the main point/conclusion.
Best passages to do now:
Short graphs and tables
Easy-to-spot trends
Numbers in the figures
Short answers (increase/decrease)

2. If your target score is less than 27, don't rush to get to the last passage. If needed, use LOFD. Give yourself more time on the rest of your passages to avoid careless errors.

Wonderful Resources!
1. Cracking the ACT Premium from The Princeton Review

2. The Real ACT

3. ACTstudent.org

4. Khan Academy

Thank you for your attention :)
1. Make no assumptions.

Keep track of your

2. Use the graphs and charts.

3. Utilize ACT Reading Test strategies.
Personal Order of Difficulty (POOD)

Identify your
, and
(X) Never
questions by

labeling each question with an N, L, or X. Do this for a full

page and then focus on answering the questions.

Continuation of POOD
Take advantage of the fact that the ACT is a multiple choice test.

The possible answers are indicators of what the questions is asking for in English; extreme answers in science and reading are typically incorrect; and in math, the choice that most resembles the others is likely the answer.

If you can eliminate an answer, your chances of answering the question correctly increase.
If you're stuck on a question, don't spend time on it.

Instead, use
Letter of the Day
Process of Elimination (POE)
Process of Elimination (POE)
Letter of the Day (LOTD)

This strategy is most effective on the questions you labeled as your

1) Choose your two favorite letters (A-D) for all sections aside from math.



2) You should have a total of four letters that you're going to always choose on your

Letter of the Day (LOTD)
Review your basic grammar rules: commas, semicolons, prepositions, misplaced modifiers, etc.

4 C's
Complete (sentence vs. fragment),
Consistent (should make sense with the other sentence),
Clear (meaning should be evident)
Concise (correct answer is free of unnecessary words and has proper grammar).
English Strategy: 4 C's
1. Identify the topic

2. Use the context; don't skip reading the underlined section.

3. Use POE

4. Trust your ear, but verify.

5. Don't fix what isn't broken. Remember conciseness over style.
1) Skim the questions and label (N, L, X ) them according to your POOD.

2) Use POE
Use your POOD
Which passage are you going to do first, second, etc.?
As you read keep in mind key words from your lead questions

Actively read the text:

the subject of the paragraph
main points
dotted lines

After each paragraph, write a couple words to summarize its premise.

Don't skim for longer than 3 minutes.
Questions Before Passage

Let's test the strategy:

Passage V: Numbers 66-75
Full transcript