I had trouble with the Reading and Science sections as well. Mostly, it is because they are towards the end that you encounter your problems.
A simple solution would be to start off doing a lot of reading and then analyzing. Pick up a copy of Bill Bryson's "A Brief History of Nearly Everything". His excerpts will be very similar to the passages you might read on the Reading and even on the science too. After reading anything, take time to analyze what it means and the main point of the passage.
Of course, you will not have time to do that on the actual ACT exam, but preparing in this manner will definitely heighten your analysis skills and improve your understanding of passages when you get to them. On the actual exam, read the questions first for the reading part, so that you know what information you need and what you can neglect. Then, skim through the passage and take what you need from the passage. Just remember that there will be certain questions that will ask you to make inferences about the passage in its entirety or just a certain point that the author was trying to make. Make sure you pay special attention to that when you are reading.
As far as the science goes, don't let the time and the questions intimidate you. Just use the charts as a reference. Don't spend more than 20 seconds looking at the charts. Taking time to actually memorize the information on the chart will get you nowhere, and it is highly time consuming. As long as you get the general idea of what the charts/graphs are talking about, you are set to answer the questions. You can always refer back to the chart when the question asks. For the science passages, I'm afraid there is no easy shortcut but to actually sit there and try to comprehend what the passage is talking about. If you get the brief idea, then you should be set. Just remember that the majority of the questions will ask you to refer back to the passage rather than make predictions and infer for this section. Take an educated guess when it comes to inferences that are especially hard to make.
Just don't let the terminology scare you. That's their tactic! Just read through the science questions quickly if you run into a passage, and then skim through the passage to get the main idea. Refer back to the passage occasionally to help answer questions, but conserve time!
Hope that helped, and good luck!
Only read every fifth word in the passage. Read one word, skip four. Read one, skip four. Read one, skip four, and so on.
Try it out in the sentence below.
You should be confident you are going to tell a sure fire way so as to never try to deliberately fail unless you do so with the help of using this completely, easy, usuable, rewarding technique.
i usually read the question, then skim thru the passage to find the answer to find part that is relative to the question, its easier that way for me, and you don't have to read the whole passage
For reading, always read the questions first... this will help you "flag" the answers when you read the paragraphs. Ask if you can mark the test booklet (usually you can)... that way you can underline or circle the answers to the questions you've already read so that you can find them easily when it comes times to answer!
For science/math - it is best to just tackle the questions one at a time. If you don't know the answer or how to figure it out in the first few seconds, move on to the next one. I went through 17 questions once before I got to one I knew! BUT... once your mathematical/scientific brain kicks in, you can go through, do the ones you know, then go back and work on the others.
Eliminate the answers you KNOW are not right... this ups your odds of getting the right one! And if you are not SURE, go with your first instinct... usually your brain figures it out before you realize it!
Be sure to mark in the ovals neatly and completely. many answers are scored incorrectly because students forgot to completely fill in the oval. make sure you have a #2 pencil... the lead is heavy enough to get recognized on the scan machine they will use to grade your test. OPEN up your test booklet so that your marks do not "bleed" through to the next page and confuse the machine.
Last but not least - make sure you are on the right answer number on your test sheet. I've seen kids trying to erase a whole row of answers because they skipped one and forgot. so, if you skip a question, place a very light mark next to the number so you can quickly go back and see what you did not do!
I took the ACT twice - DO NOT WORRY ABOUT YOUR TIME LIMIT. They give you more than enough time to read passages, etc. I know that in most areas schools offer an ACT prep class - they're a waste of time. I took them, and the only advantage I had was that I took practice ACT exams. These practice exams are available for free online. But even those exams dont say much - my practice ACT score was a 22 and I ended up with a 27 on the actual ACT. The reading and science questions are not complex - the reading section is self-explanatory. All I can really say about that is make sure you're not hungry or tired during the test (Maslow's hierarchy of needs says if your physiological needs are not met, you can pretty much forget trying to accomplish higher level thinking). While youre reading the passages, try underlining key points. Read every answer CAREFULLY (one word can change the entire meaning of a sentence). The science section is made so that even students who are poor at science can achieve a good score. It's science reasoning and interpretation. There are no shortcuts - if you attempt to take any, be aware that you could be cheating yourself but not taking the time to read everything carefully. If you don't feel strongly about your reading skills, then yes, you should try to read the questions first. But I've found that if you try to read the questions first, you might jump to conclusions while you read the passages. Take the practice tests. That's the best (and practically only) way to prep. Good luck.
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