Reading & Writing Strategies for the ACT

The ACT consists of five sections that test a student’s skills on fundamental academic subjects. The reading section gauges a student’s reading comprehension skills. The writing test evaluates a student’s ability to create a logical essay. Students are required to take the reading test, whereas the writing test is optional. However, many students take the writing test so they have a sample essay to submit with their college applications. Whether a student feels relatively prepared for the reading and writing tests or needs a little review, Veritas Prep can help. Our expert instructors have practical experience with the ACT. This means that we offer students ACT reading test strategies that really work! Consider a sampling of strategies to use on the reading and writing sections of the ACT.

The Reading Test

Skim Through the Questions and Answer Options

One of the most effective ACT reading strategies is to skim through the questions as well as the answer options before reading each passage. This can help a student to read with purpose. As a student skims through the questions, they may see some that concern the main idea, point of view, or supporting details in the passage. Students who keep this information in mind as they read are likely to zero in on the correct answers right away.

Eliminate the Incorrect Answer Options Immediately

Another helpful ACT reading strategy is to cross out the answer options that are incorrect. This narrows down a student’s answer options, making a question more manageable. This is especially useful if the question is a challenging one. So instead of sifting through four answer options, a student may only have to consider two or three. In addition to making questions more manageable, this strategy helps a student use their test time more efficiently. During our test prep courses, we offer valuable guidance to students as they take practice reading tests. Our professional instructors show students how to filter out the incorrect answer options and focus on viable answers.

Skip the Difficult Questions

One of the most valuable ACT reading test strategies for students to remember is to skip over challenging questions. This is one of those ACT reading strategies that can prevent a student from running out of time on the test. If a student encounters a difficult question, it’s a good idea to make a small mark beside it and return to it after finishing the remainder of the questions. That way, a student has plenty of time to go back and answer the more difficult questions without leaving any ovals blank.

The Writing Test

Pause to Think About the Writing Prompt

This is one of the simplest and most effective ACT writing strategies a student can use. A student who is anxious to get started may give the essay prompt a quick scan before beginning to write. By doing this, a student runs the risk of misinterpreting the prompt. In order to offer a thoughtful argument, students should take a few minutes to absorb the writing prompt to determine what is being asked of them. A few minutes of consideration can help a student to build a solid argument with lots of supporting evidence.

Create a List of Ideas

Jotting down a list of ideas before starting to write the essay is another valuable tip for a student tackling the writing test on the ACT. This technique helps a student to determine how to approach the essay and which details to include. It can also serve as an excellent warm-up exercise before writing the actual essay.

Make a Simple Outline

After choosing an idea, students should make a simple outline of the essay that includes its thesis, supporting details, and conclusion. An outline helps a student to create an essay that flows in a logical way. Also, students who lose their train of thought can glance at their outline to ensure that they end up with an organized essay.

At Veritas Prep, we have ACT preparation courses that give students an advantage on both the reading and writing sections. For example, one of our ACT strategies for reading is known as CUFS. Through CUFS, students learn how to identify the important elements in a reading question. In addition, our online tutors provide students with advice on how to create an essay that contains all of the necessary components. Our talented instructors and excellent academic resources combine to provide students with first-rate prep for the ACT.