"The student and I discussed his strengths and challenges regarding the ACT. We then reviewed some of the particular strategies for the Science section:
* Identifying each passage as one of 3 basic types in order to choose the most appropriate approach to take to it;
* Proceeding directly to the questions (after reading the short intro/context paragraph) in Interpreting Data and Interpreting Experimental Results questions;
* Reading the passages first for Contrasting Viewpoints questions, and identifying similarities & differences in each student's/experimenter's hypotheses;
* Using key words or phrases from the questions determine which types of data from a given chart or table are relevant to the question;
* Making notes & marks in his test book to help him decipher complex tables or charts, e.g. by drawing arrows, circling column headings, or drawing separation lines between different sections of a 4-in-1 graph; and
* Scanning the answer choices when a question seems vague or complicated, and evaluating each answer choice instead of going from reading the question to trying to absorb all of the data in the graph or table that it references.
After practicing these strategies for the Science section, we discussed tips for working with the fiction passages of the Reading section. We discussed the usefulness of reading the questions and underlining names, line numbers or key phrases before reading the passage itself, as a way of preparing his brain to focus more closely on parts of the passage that are relevant to the questions when reading. We also discussed coming up with one- or two-word labels for each paragraph of a passage as he read, in order to have quick points of reference when answering the questions after reading. Finally, we looked at ways to narrow down the answer choices quickly for a given question, so that he can focus his attention on 2 answer choices and minimize the amount of time that he spends re-reading large sections of the passage to help him to find or eliminate matches with every answer choice in turn. Last, we discussed some strategies to help him work more efficiently in the English section of the ACT. In particular, we discussed some of the common grammar mistakes that he might be asked to identify; some of the rhetorical skills that might be tested (in terms of paragraph organization, transitions, etc.); and some of the different approaches to take in each case. We spent more time discussing tips for dealing with paragraph- or passage-level rhetorical skills-based questions. The student seems to benefit most from strategies to increase efficiency and reduce distraction or the possibility of feeling overwhelmed or lost when dealing with certain types of passages and questions. I very much look forward to working with him on Writing during our next session."