Tip #29 to Get a Top ACT English Reading Science Score
You've now learned the 12 Reading Skills that you need for the ACT. The Mantras remind you what to do for each type of question. Let's make sure you've memorized them. Drill them until you are ready to teach them. Then do that; find a willing friend and give a little ACT course.
Learning the Mantras is like learning martial arts. Practice until they become part of you— until you follow them naturally: when you see a passage, you read for main idea and tone, and when you answer questions, you recognize most question types and know what to do. This will definitely raise your score. It might even fundamentally change you as a student. After ACT prep many students have better study habits. They read the intros in their history books, they read faster and with better comprehension, they are able to anticipate quiz questions. Homework becomes less intimidating, easier, and more fun. So, good work; your ACT score and probably even your school grades will go up!
Here are the 12 ACT Reading Mantras. Check the box next to each Skill when you have mastered it. Reread the Skill sections if you need to.
- Skill 17. Always begin a reading passage by reading the bold intro.
- Skill 18. Read the passage, looking for main idea and tone. That helps you stay focused; keep asking yourself, What are the main idea and tone? When you notice the theme of a paragraph, circle a word or words that capture it. Don't try to memorize details and don't reread hard lines. If you need them, you'll reread later when you know the question and what to look for.
- Skill 19. To answer a "most nearly means" question, reread a few lines before and a few lines after.
- Skill 20. For a "direct info" question, always read before and after a line or key word and find proof.
- Skill 21. For "suggest" questions look for the answer that is hinted at in the passage; though it might have different language, it should be pretty close to what is actually said.
- Skill 22. Answer "attitude" questions based on evidence in the passage; an author's attitude is expressed through choice of words and punctuation. For help, reread the bold intro and the first and last sentences of each paragraph.
- Skill 23. If you need help with a "main idea" question, reread the bold intro and the first and last lines of each paragraph.
- Skill 24. For questions that ask about the writer's choices or the flow of the passage, review the progression of paragraphs and use the process of elimination.
- Skills 25 and 26. If you don't know the meaning of a word, ask yourself if you can break it apart, or if you've ever heard or seen it in a book, in a movie, on a sign, as the name of a business, in a commercial, in a class, etc.
- Skill 27. For a "Say what?" question, don't get thrown if the choices are not from the passage. Stay relaxed and focused, and look for the choice that answers the specific goal of the question.
- Skill 28. Read the passage, looking for main idea and tone. Don't memorize details. Don't reread a confusing line. Don't reread if you spaced out and missed a sentence or two.
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