Are you struggling with how to prepare for the Reading section of the ACT? Do the passages look like a wall of text to you? Are you a slow reader? Here are some tips for approaching this section of the test and increasing your score.
- You have 35 minutes to answer 40 questions on this section. That’s about:
- 9 minutes per passage
- 52 seconds per question
- Pay attention to the big picture of the passage and what it’s all about.
- The questions often appear in the order of when they appear in the passage (not including general questions about the passage as a whole)
- Take notes, underline, circle information as you read the passage.
- When answering a question about the meaning of a word or sentence, read the sentences before and after it for more context.
- If you’re not a fast reader, consider going straight to the questions first and referring back to the passage for the answers. Read the answer choices to give you an idea of what you should be looking for.
- Don’t overthink any words you may not know. You don’t need to know what most of them mean. Just pay attention to what the passage is saying about that word and how it’s used.
- As you’re reading, pay attention to the tone of the author and the characters in the passage. How would you describe their emotions?
- Remember that authors choose their words for a reason when writing. Think: what is the author trying to make you think/feel?
- Pay attention to the ideas that are mentioned frequently. This is likely the main idea.
- When trying to understand the main idea of a paragraph, read the first and last sentences. When trying to understand the main idea of the passage, read the first and last sentences (and maybe the entire first/last paragraphs).
- Don’t try to memorize information on the test. The test is open book, so you can flip to another page within the same section and come back later.
Looking for more help? Check out our ACT practice worksheets.