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1 About The ACT Reading Test. 2 “Nuts & Bolts” of the ACT Reading Test The Reading Test has 40 questions that must be answered in 35 minutes; that time.

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Presentation on theme: "1 About The ACT Reading Test. 2 “Nuts & Bolts” of the ACT Reading Test The Reading Test has 40 questions that must be answered in 35 minutes; that time."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 About The ACT Reading Test

2 2 “Nuts & Bolts” of the ACT Reading Test The Reading Test has 40 questions that must be answered in 35 minutes; that time includes reading the four passages. Each passage is approximately 750 words long. Students have about minutes to read each passage and answer the questions that follow. The Reading Test evaluates students’ ability to understand the passages; they do NOT need to be knowledgeable about the subject area covered in the passage. They do, however, have to read attentively because the passages contain all the information needed to answer the questions.

3 3 What types of questions are on the Reading Test? All questions fall into one of two basic categories: Referring questions ask students to find or use information that is clearly stated in the passage. Reasoning questions ask students to take information that’s either stated or implied in the passage and use it to answer more complex questions.

4 Content of the ACT Reading Test One passage from each of the following categories: Prose Fiction Social Science Humanities Natural Science 4

5 5 ContentProportion of Reading Test Number of Items Prose Fiction.2510 Social Science.2510 Humanities.2510 Natural Science.2510 Total1.0040

6 6 What does each Reading category include? Prose Fiction--intact short stories or excerpts from short stories or novels Social Science--anthropology, archaeology, business, economics, education, geography, history, political science, psychology, sociology Humanities--architecture, art, dance, ethics, film, language, literary criticism, music, philosophy, radio, television, theater

7 7 What does each category include? Natural Science--anatomy, astronomy, biology, botany, chemistry, ecology, geology, medicine, meteorology, microbiology, natural history, physiology, physics, technology, zoology

8 8 What will students be asked to do? identify important details identify the main point of a paragraph or passage make comparisons between characters or ideas identify cause-effect relationships make generalizations about events or characters

9 9 (continued) What will students be asked to do? determine the meaning of unfamiliar words from the context of the passage make reasonable inferences about events, ideas, or characters identify an author’s point of view

10 10 Instructions for the Reading Test Students should be very familiar with the directions of any standardized test prior to taking the test. Directions: There are four passages in this test. Each passage is followed by several questions. After reading a passage, choose the best answer to each question and fill in the corresponding oval on your answer document. You may refer to the passages as often as necessary.

11 11 Prose Fiction Passages and Questions The questions on Prose Fiction passages ask about the kinds of things you pay attention to when you read a short story or novel--plot, characters, and mood, among other things. As you read, you should be aware of the mood or tone of the passage, the relationship of the characters, and the emotion implied by what the characters say as well as how they say it.

12 12 Social Science Passages and Questions Social studies (or social science) passages typically present information gathered by research. A social studies passage might be about Japanese history, or political action committees, or a psychological experiment. Students will find names, dates and concepts in these passages, and they should pay close attention to what name goes with what concept in a discussion of political systems and keep track of who said what in a passage discussing different views of a constitutional amendment. Students should look for cause-effect relationships, comparisons, and sequence of events.

13 13 Humanities Passages and Questions Humanities passages tend to describe or analyze ideas or works of art. These passages are typically informative pieces, although at times the writer’s presence and point of view are obvious. A question might ask you to project the writer’s likely response to a hypothetical argument or situation. In these passages, the kinds of relationships students will be asked to infer or identify are those between events, ideas, people, trends, or modes of thought.

14 14 Natural Science Passages and Questions This kind of passage usually presents a scientific topic and an explanation of the topic’s significance. It requires a different sort of analysis than a prose fiction passage does. For instance, in a natural sciences passage the author is typically concerned with the relationships between natural phenomena, not characters. A Natural Science passage may contain specialized or technical language. The passage will contain clues to the meaning.

15 15 According to Sparknotes, on the Reading Test Of the 4 subject tests, the Reading Test can be the most difficult to prepare for. This test requires practice in Reading with speed without sacrificing comprehension. You may want to focus on reading science articles in a newspaper of scientific magazine because many students have less familiarity with this type of material.

16 16 According to Sparknotes, on the Reading Test There is no order of difficulty. However, individual students may find one type of passage easier than the other types. If after practicing on released tests, you find that you don’t do so well on a particular type of question such as cause-effect, don’t waste valuable time on the test struggling with this type. By practicing, learn what your ideal reading speed is for passages such as are on the test.

17 According to Sparknotes, on the Reading Test Read the passage first, then answer the questions. Why? Some test prep books advise you to look at the questions first to find key words and then to read with passage with an eye to answering the questions. While this strategy sounds good on paper, it’s really quite difficult in practice, especially in high-pressure situations like taking the ACT. Imagine trying to remember what 10 questions ask while reading an unfamiliar passage, simultaneously trying to get the gist of it, and looking for possible answers. 17

18 18 According to Sparknotes, on the Reading Test Scribble, Doodle, Underline. How do you know what to mark? You can use your underlines and notes as a map through the passage. But don’t spend lots of time marking. Underlining the topic sentence of each paragraph (NOT always the first sentence) will help you keep on top of the argument’s direction.

19 19 According to Sparknotes, on the Reading Test When you encounter a sentence or a section that looks like it will enumerate examples to support a point, quickly scribble “ex” in the margin to let you know that this is an example. Underlining key phrases that help relate parts of the passage, such as “subsequently,” “on the other hand,” and “in contrast” will also help you map your way through the passage.

20 20 According to Sparknotes, on the Prose Fiction passage there will be the following types of questions: Identify specific details and facts Draw inferences (usually have “suggest,” “infer,” “imply,” and “indicate”) Understand character (reducing a lot of information about a character into a simple, digestible statement) Point of view (the narrator’s point of view) These are rare on prose fiction passages. Cause-effect cue words include “resulted in,” “led to,” “caused by” and “because.”

21 21 According to Sparknotes, on the Social Science passage there will be the following types of questions: Specific detail Inference Main idea and argument (some deal with whole passage and some with sections) The author’s purpose questions fall under this category also. Cause-effect (more likely on nonfiction than prose fiction) Point of view (how the writer views his or her subject) The writer’s tone is important here. Comparison—mostly on social and natural science (cue words are “compares” and “analogy.”

22 22 According to Sparknotes, on the Humanities passage there will be the following types of questions: Specific detail Inference Vocabulary (words with multiple meanings, will include a line number) Main idea Comparison (sometimes a metaphor)

23 23 According to Sparknotes, on the Natural Science passage, (heavy on scientific facts, argument, cause-effect logic, and details) there will be the following types of questions: Specific detail Inference Cause-effect Comparison Main idea Vocabulary (rare, but will ask you to identify an unfamiliar scientific word from its context) Point of view (rare, but will most likely ask you to identify the point of view of the passage’s author).

24 According to Princeton Review, on the Reading Test The questions are not in chronological order. There is no particular order of difficulty. After practicing, decide on the order in which you will do the passages. When it comes to paragraphs, small and many is better than big and few. 24

25 According to Princeton Review, on the Reading Test A short answer is a better choice than a long answer. Process of elimination is vital for the Reading section Use a letter of the day for any question you don’t answer or for a passage you don’t do. Read the blurb before the passage. Preview the question before reading. 25

26 According to Princeton Review, on the Reading Test Skim and scribble on the passage. Don’t answer from memory. Underline lead words. Put a star next to Line or Paragraph References. Always read about 5 – 10 lines around your Line Reference or Lead word. 26

27 According to Princeton Review, on the Reading Test Read between the lines to find the author’s point. When choosing an answer, avoid extremes, futures, and hypotheticals. Look for a main theme that has run through several questions. Correct answers should all agree with each other. 27


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