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ACT Overview By Penny Wood Courtesy of The Real ACT booklet, 3 rd edition, copyright 2011
Whats in this Presentation: Parts of the test Types of problems Focus skills
Parts of the Test English – 75 questions, 45 minutes Reading – 40 questions, 35 minutes Math – 60 questions, 60 minutes Science – 40 questions, 35 minutes Writing – 1 response, 30 minutes
English Test Mechanics# questions Punctuation10 Grammar and Usage12 Sentence Structure18 Rhetoric Strategy12 Organization11 Style12
Mechanics Example Questions 1. Choose the correction for the first underlined portion. Otherwise, this difference points to significant underlying cultural values. F. No change G. on H. at J. Omit the underlined portion If you plug in each of the answers, you will discover that no change is the best choice.
Rhetoric Example Questions May be about strategy (purpose), point of view, word connotation, and style. Might ask about making revisions to underlined portions of essays. May ask about organization or paragraph progression.
Rhetoric Example Questions 1. In the early 1900s the Oodham became acquainted with marching bands and woodwind instruments (which explains the presence of saxophones in waila). Given all the choices are true, which one is most relevant to the focus of the paragraph? A. NO CHANGE B. (although fiddles were once widely used in waila bands). C. (even though theyre now often constructed of metal). D. (which are frequently found in jazz bands also). Choice A would keep the phrase as is. It is the phrase that gives the best example of the main idea (a saxophone is a marching band and a woodwind instrument).
Summary Grammar – about 60% of total test Rhetoric – about 40% of total test (word choice, connotation, paragraph progression, point of view, purpose, style)
Focus Skills Recall and Apply Grammar Rules Teach Using Main Ideas to Help with Rhetoric Questions (key words) –Both these skills we taught with success on the Graduation Exam –Test format is a different – sometimes there is no question, only an underlined portion of a passage and choices given
Reading Test Reading – 40 questions, 35 minutes
Four Sections of the Reading Test Prose Humanities Social Science Natural Science
A. relocating their operations to a common geographic area in Europe B. providing industrial waste to private homes and farming operations C. eliminating the need for raw materials D. using industrial waste as raw materials 8. According to the passage, the common element for companies that want to be part of a food web is their mutual interest in: Although Kalndborg is a cozy co-location, industries need not be geographically close to operate in a food web as long as they are connected by a mutual desire to use waste. Already, some companies are designing their processes so that any waste that falls on the production-room floor is valuable and can be used by someone else. In this game of designed offal, a process with lots of waste, as long as its wanted waste, may be better than one with a small amount of waste that must be landfilled or burned. As author Daniel Chiras says, more companies are recognizing that technologiesthat produce by-products society cannot absorb are essentially failed technologies. So far, weve talked about recycling within a circle of companies. But what happens when a product leaves the manufacturer and passes to the consumer and finally to the trash can? Right now, a product visits one of two fates at the end of its useful life. It can be buried in a landfill or incinerated, or it can be recaptured through recycling or reuse. Traditionally, manufacturers havent had to worry about what happens to a product after it leaves their gates. But that is starting to change, thanks to laws now in the wings in Europe (and headed for the United States) that will require companies to take back their durable goods such as refrigerators, washers, and cars at the end of their useful lives. In Germany, the take-back laws start with the initial sale. Companies must take back all their packaging or hire middlemen to do the recycling. Take- back laws mean that manufacturers who have been saying, This product can be recycled, must now say, We recycle our products and packaging. When the onus shifts in this way, its suddenly in the companys best interest to design a product that will either last a long time or come apart easily for recycling or reuse. Refrigerators and cars will be assembled using easy-open snaps instead of glued-together joints, and for recyclability, each part will be made of one material instead of twenty. Even simple things, like the snack bags for potato chips, will be streamlined. Todays bags, which have nine thin layers made of seven different materials, will not doubt be replaced by one material that can preserve freshness and can easily be remade into a new bag. Once again, use your clue words to help you find the answer. In the paragraph above, it is clear that the waste of one company should be used by another company someone else.
Reading Summary In Sample Passages, test questions were about: Overall Main Idea 10% Supporting Details with Key Words - 40% Supporting Details or Main Idea with Inference (where you had to figure out word meaning or add info not directly stated) - 50% –Items with key words that lead to answers is about 75% overall
Focus Skill Use Key Words that match/lead the reader to answers Read and Dig Strategy. Read questions first then look for answer –Very similar to skills and strategies used for graduation exam –Difference is the reading level is higher and passages are longer
Math Test Math – 60 questions, 60 minutes
Types of Questions Basic Math What is 4% of 1000? A. 4 B. 4.4 C. 40 D. 44 E. 440
Types of Questions Basic Elementary Algebra For all x, (x+ 4)(x-5) = A. x B. x 2 -x-20 C. 2x-1 D. 2x 2 -1 E. 2x 2 -x+20v Using the foil method, solve. Front Outer Inner Last x 2 -5x + 4x -20 x 2 – x-20
Types of Questions Intermediate Algebra If x+y=1, and x-y=1, then y=? A. -1 B. 0 C. ½ D. 1 E. 2 One of the easiest ways to solve this systems of equations problem is to plug in answers and solve for x until the same value for x is found. The only answer that results in x=1 for both equations. So the answer is B. Y has to be 0 to get the same result.
Types of Questions Coordinate Geometry What is the slope of the line containing the points (-2, 7) and (3, -3)? F. 4 G. ¼ H. 0 J. -1/2 K. -2 Use the formula y 1 -y 2 X 1 -x 2 7- (-3) =-2
Types of Questions Plane Geometry If the measure of an angle is 37 ½ degrees, what is the measure of its supplement? A. 52 ½ B. 62 ½ C. 127 ½ D. 142 ½ E. Cannot be determined from the information given Knowing the definition of supplemental angles adding to 180 will help you find the correct answer. Take 180 and subtract it from 37 ½. The answer is thus 142 ½.
22 Summary Basic Math: 50% of Problems Algebra Problems – 25% Geometry Problems: 15% Algebra with Trigonometry Problems: 10%
Focus Skills Basic Math Skills (multiply, divide, percentages, etc) Know Formulas (Distance, Pythagorean Theorem, Area, etc) –Eric the Red Tutor has a great page of formulas for the ACT Test (Google) –Different from grad exam in that geometry and trig are tested (only about 25% of test)
Science Science – 40 questions, 35 minutes
Types of Questions Reading and analyzing charts and tables Making estimates using data from one or two tables or charts Determining a missing piece of information to answer a question
1. Students used 2 methods to calculate D, a cars total stopping distance; D is the distance a car travels form the time a driver first reacts to an emergency until the car comes to a complete stop. In Method 1, R is the distance a car travels during a drivers assumed reaction time of 0.75 seconds, and B is the average distance traveled once the brakes are applied. Method 2 assumes that D=initial speech in ft/sec x 2 sec. Table 1 lists R, B, and D for various initial speeds, where D was computed using both methods. Figure 1 contains graphs of D versus initial speed for Method 1 and Method 2. A. 1/4 as great B. 1/2 as great C. 2 times as great D. 4 times as great Table 1 and Figure 1 adapted from Edwin F. Meyer III, Multiple Care Pileups and the Two-Second Rule. Copyright 1994 by The American Association of Physics Teachers. 1. Compared to R at an initial speed of 20 mi/hr, R at an initial speed of 80 mi/hr is Most science questions ask you to use a table to answer the question. First, find initial speeds of 20 and 80 on the table. Then, look at R for both values. You can then see that 88 is 4 times greater than 22.
A.75 cm B.94 cm C.113 cm D.135 cm 7. According to Figure 4, the chain with the Y 0 = 20 cm will have a fall time on the Moon of 2.0 sec if L is approximately The first thing to do is find the 2.0 sec line that is closest to the Moon + marks. After this, the question asks the amount for L. The amount of L = 120 for about 2.4 seconds. The amount thus for 120 at 2 sec will be less than 120. The closest estimate is 113 cm.
A.less than its fall time at Jupiters surface B.greater than its fall time at Jupiters surface, and less than its fall time at Earths surface C.greater than its fall time at Earths surface, and less than its fall time at the Moons surface D. greater than its fall time at the Moons surface 10. The acceleration due to gravity on the surface at the planet Neptune is approximately 11.7 miles/sec 2. Based on Figure 3, a chains fall time, calculated for Neptunes surface and a given Y 0 would be In order to answer this question, information from Table 1 is very useful. In fact, when answering any of these questions refer to all the info to help you. If Neptunes acceleration is 11.7 miles per second, then it is between Earth and Jupiters acceleration. So, this tells us that on Figure 3, Neptunes plots would be between Earth and Jupiter.
Summary On Sample Tests 40% of the questions could be answered simply by reading the graphs 30% of questions were answered by making estimates based on the graphs 10% of questions were determined using extra information by looking at the graph 20% of questions required looking at two graphs or two pictures for the answer
Focus Skills Skills used in this practice test: Reading Tables Forming Estimates based on the Tables Finding missing information
Writing 1 Essay – 30 Minutes
Content of the Writing Test Express judgments by taking a position on the issue Maintain a focus on the topic Develop a position by using logical reasoning and by supporting your ideas Organize ideas in a logical way Use language clearly and effectively according to Standard English conventions 30 Minutes to Write
Scores The essay is scored holistically on a 1 – 6 scale with 6 being the highest score *6 – Effective skill in response, few if any errors, good command of language 5 – Competent skill in response, organization is clear and logical, no distracting errors 4 – Adequate skill in response, focus is maintained, transitions may be simple, some distracting errors *3 – Developing skill in response, limited development of ideas, focus may not be maintained, distracting errors may impede understanding 2 – Inconsistent or weak skill, repetition, minimal intro and conclusion, errors are frequent *1 – Little or no skill, no understanding, few reasons, no logic, significant errors
Focus Skills Writing with organization and with clarity Writing with few grammatical errors –Very similar to writing assessment except more emphasis on grammar
Summation Experience from grad exam is applicable to preparing for the ACT Only a few additional skills needed in addition to reading at a higher level Test format is a little different – ACT website has a practice question each day