"Because this was the student's first session, we began by discussing his particular goals and concerns about the ACT; based on this conversation and on his SAT scores, we established the English section as our first and highest priority. We went over the exam's structure and some general test-taking strategies, then turned our attention to the English test. After briefly going over the similarities and differences between the ACT English test and the SAT multiple-choice Writing sections, we used a couple of sample ACT English passages as a starting point to determine what skills we needed to review and what techniques would be most helpful.
The student has an excellent intuitive grasp of the rules of language, although he often seemed to have trouble articulating why an answer seemed (or "sounded", as he phrased it) right or wrong. Almost all of the practice questions that posed a challenge to the student fell into one of two categories: questions that asked the student to choose the best option to fulfill specific editorial criteria, and questions where the student rushed rather than reading carefully, resulting in minor mistakes. Of these two challenges, the student struggled less with the first; once he knew how to approach these types of Rhetorical Skills questions and what cues signaled that a given question was one of this type, he began to do better with them. The second issue proved more difficult to correct, but the student did make a good beginning. The first time that we checked his pacing on an entire passage, he finished in less than half of the suggested time but missed nearly half of the questions. When he forced himself to spend three quarters of the suggested time, his accuracy improved dramatically; with that improvement in mind, we talked about both how he could convince himself to slow down during the actual test and how he could best allocate the extra time that he spends on each passage."