The Reading section of the ACT can put a damper on high hopes for a fantastic composite score for students to whom reading does not come easily. While nearly all high school courses include some form of reading in their curricula, many test students’ ability to comprehend and analyze passages of works with which they are already familiar due to coursework, not material they have never seen before, like the ACT Reading section does; furthermore, students’ reading comprehension abilities are often tested in English courses focused on a relatively narrow range of content: fictional prose, drama, and poetry. The ACT Reading does test students’ abilities to understand prose fiction, but this accounts for only a quarter of the questions on the section. Since the ACT Reading section draws its passages from a much later range of topics, one way to begin to prepare for the exam is to simply read widely across many subjects. Whether you need top ACT Reading tutors in Atlanta, ACT Reading tutors in Houston, or top ACT Reading tutors in San Francisco, working with a pro may take your studies to the next level.
Along with the imposing range of topic material, the ACT Reading section is also challenging because of how necessary good timing is for success. While few people use a stopwatch when they are reading a book for fun, the ACT Reading section asks test-takers to read four passages of approximately eight hundred words each and answer forty questions in total about them. Even answering the questions aside, one must be able to read somewhat quickly in order to make it through all of the presented material. You can track your reading speed by taking Varsity Tutors’ free ACT Reading Practice Tests and Diagnostics, which track the exact amount of time you take to answer each question. Beginning to review early can leave you with ample time to calibrate your reading speed and prevent you from having to rush or leave questions unanswered on test day. Varsity Tutors offers resources like a free ACT prep book to help with your self-paced study, or you may want to consider an ACT Reading tutor.
Passage topics and section timing aside, the questions asked on the ACT Reading section are not simple. Many ask you to make complex inferences and pick up on subtle shades of meaning conveyed in tone and authorial style. Others may ask you to identify information presented that supports the author’s assertions, or to analyze the reasoning behind the passage’s organization. Practicing with test-specific resources can help you to learn which types of questions to expect and to practice any that give you particular difficulty.
Varsity Tutors offers just such free ACT Reading resources, and our free ACT Reading Help content is available to consult for any passage topic and question type you may have trouble with during your review. Our ACT Reading Help pages include model questions followed by answers and full explanations of how to work through them. If you find yourself dreading a particular question type or passage topic, read through some model problems in order to identify patterns in their organization. You can then progress from guessing and immediately checking your answer to taking our free ACT Reading practice tests, answering a variety of questions about a passage in one go, just like on the actual ACT.
Studying for the ACT Reading section may be more difficult than reviewing for any of the test’s other sections due to the abstract nature of the reading skills the ACT Reading section tests; however, you will be able to apply the skills you are practicing to nearly all of your future pursuits, whether you plan to attend college or immediately begin looking for a job. Check out Varsity Tutors’ free ACT Reading resources or consider ACT Reading tutoring to start sharpening these skills today!