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Last minute ACT Preparation help?

dreamerbeanerdreamerbeaner 5 replies7 postsRegistered User New Member
I'm looking for some last minute ACT Preparation for the ACT on Saturday (7/13). I took a practice test today and last week, getting a 34 (the score I'm aiming for) on both.
Test I: 34 English/36 Math/36 Reading/29 Science - 33.75 = 34
Test 2: 35 English/36 Math/34 Reading/31 Science - 34.00 = 34

Between the two tests, I've been going through problems from The Real ACT Prep Guide (3rd Edition). Here are how many questions I got right/wrong for each section:
Questions: 142/150 English, 60/60 Math, 116/120 Reading, 60/60 Science

My thoughts on each section/what I want to improve:
English: Writing is probably most comfortable section. I usually finish with 15 minutes left, and feel like I may be able to do better on the real thing (I don't double check in practice).
Math: I should be fine as long as I read the question carefully, avoid silly mistakes, and don't get curve balls
Reading: My reading scores are good, but I'm uncomfortable with the amount of time I have left at the end. On both practice tests, I finished with under 30 seconds remaining (I had to really rush my last article on my 2nd test). If I get an article that's hard for me to read, I could really mess up. I'm mostly looking here for a way to get faster and finish with 1-2 minutes left.
Science: I rarely ever get things wrong when I'm practicing science, but on the test its a different story. I genuinely feel like on my practice tests I get lazy after reading because I have to focus so much on reading beforehand and it's just a practice test. I don't know what I should be doing here.

Any advice for me to iron out these last few things? 5 days doesn't seem like a lot of time, but it still is 10-15 hours of quality, focused work I can put in on the final stretch.
Thanks!
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Replies to: Last minute ACT Preparation help?

  • dreamerbeanerdreamerbeaner 5 replies7 postsRegistered User New Member
    Just a small update in case it will help anyone. I actually think I got over my reading speed problem in the 2 days since I posted.

    Here's pretty much what I did:

    1. Strategy
    Strategy A: My original strategy was to read through the questions, go through the article while answering some easy questions, and then to go back to answer the rest of the questions. This allowed me to find general areas where the questions were answered and let me go back and answer some easy ones, but otherwise I had to look around the article too much to find the answers to harder problems. (8-9 min/article)

    Strategy B: I then decided to try and skim the article for the answers and then answer all the questions. This produced the same result, and I had the same problem: When there was an answer I didn't know, it took me a good 30 seconds to find the section with the answer and even more to actually answer the question. This didn't fare much better. (8-9 min/article)

    Strategy C: I realized that if I could just remember where general information on the text was, I could skip the whole process of looking through the whole article and just go through a smaller section. This time, I employed Strategy B but I boxed every new subject introduced and bracketed each paragraph, using 1 short word to describe what it was about. The words were honestly written so quickly and with such bad handwriting that I could barely read them, but it didn't matter. The very act of summarizing each paragraph with a word gave me a much stronger mental map of where specific pieces of information were, letting me get more directly to the answers and saving me loads of time. (7-8 min/article)

    2. Subvocalizing
    Subvocalization, or silent speech, is the internal speech typically made when reading; it provides the sound of the word as it is read. This is a natural process when reading, and it helps the mind to access meanings to comprehend and remember what is read, potentially reducing cognitive load. Wikipedia

    By stopping myself from subvocalizing, I could read through articles a lot faster while still understanding it. I read through sciencedaily.com while consciously not subvocalizing for 2 hours. Then for the rest of the day, I read through all of the text that I could see (nutrition facts, brand names, code, etc) while not subvocalizing. I think I got the hang of it pretty quickly, because after I tried another ACT passage, I felt like I was speeding through. The practice passages I did after this were all done in 5-8 minutes. I made more errors at the start, but I eventually whittled down the errors to my usual amount.

    3: Practice Reading Section Test After
    39/40 raw score in 27:57, curve from the book states a 38-40 is a 36.
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