With four weeks to go until the April ACT, this month we’re providing a four-week ACT program that students can do on their own to improve their English, Reading, Math, and Science scores.
Four Week Program for English
Please download a free ACT exam to familiarize yourself with the test. We also recommend purchasing The Official ACT Prep Guide
The good news is that there’s not a lot of grammar on this test. Take a look at our grammar guide to see the topics that you’re likely to be tested on. Spend time this week reviewing the different rules and just how to employ a colon, a semicolon, detect a run-on, a misplaced modifier, an ambiguous antecedent, faulty comparison, transition words, logical sequence, common confusions, combining sentences, and logical sequence.
Take a complete 45-minute English test. There are five English passages. Each passage has 15 questions. You have nine minutes for each passage. Make sure not to rush and to take all of the time you need to answer the questions. Time is rarely an issue on this portion of the exam.
How the English Test Sets Up:
- The test makers have made the assumption that most students’ essays are too long, go off topic, or use too much punctuation. So, you’re always looking to take words and punctuation out.
- The test also tests for logical sequence, transitions, and substantive questions about the passage in its entirety. To those ends, the best way to handle the English test is to do it paragraph by paragraph. By that we mean, read the entire paragraph first before you do the first question. Now we know few students want to do this as it adds an extra step, but the context of the paragraph will help you to determine the proper tense, subject-verb agreement, word choice, punctuation, transition and content questions.
- Once you complete the paragraph and go back and do the first question in the paragraph, plug it back in the sentence and read it to yourself. This is like checking your math. Your ear can save you as ears often hear what the eyes miss. Finish the remaining questions in that paragraph and then duplicate this process until you complete the exam.
Let’s do an analysis of the questions that you missed. This is a little harder as you may not know be able to spot a dangling participle or when a colon cannot be used to set up a list. So, we have a couple of suggestions. Take the questions that you missed, and if after reviewing what the right answers are in the book, it’s still unclear, ask your Language Arts teacher or someone who’s fluent in grammar to clarify the answer for you.
Once you’ve done an analysis of what you’ve missed and are clear on why the wrong answers are wrong and the correct answers are correct, be sure to be on red alert for those questions as they are likely to appear on the ACT test that you’re about to take.
Take as many practice ACT English tests as time permits. Check your answers. Over the years, we’ve noticed that if often takes five passes before a grammar rule really sinks.