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While general discussion about the ACT test is allowed by ACT, discussion of test questions may violate your agreement with ACT. Please be thoughtful in your posts and replies.

ACT reading speed?

Irvine IvyIrvine Ivy Registered User Posts: 81 Junior Member
edited August 2008 in ACT Preparation
What's your Strategy for the ACT reading section? I run out of time in this section.

I'm taking the ACT for the first time in September and I've been doing a few practice tests. The problem I'm having is running out of time on the reading section. 4 sections in 35 minutes is a bit intense. I don't have this problem on the SAT because I do the questions as I read, so not only is the passage fresh in my mind, but also sometimes I don't have to read the entire passage to answer all the problems.

The ACT reading section, however, seems to be organized differently; namely, the reading sections are not organized in chronological order. So the only strategy i have is...none at all. I just basically read the passage fast, and then try to answer as fast as i can. But, i still run out of time.

What strategy do you use for the ACT reading?
Post edited by Irvine Ivy on

Replies to: ACT reading speed?

  • RebelT09RebelT09 Registered User Posts: 182 Junior Member
    Spend 2-3 minutes quickly reading the passage, only attempting to grasp the main focus. Then quickly read through the questions and and answer the ones you know, or go back quickly and search for the answer.
  • llpitchllpitch Registered User Posts: 4,318 Senior Member
    I got a 36 on ACT Reading. What I did:

    Quickly look at the questions that ask about specific lines. Make a little line next to that line in the passage. Start reading the passage until you get to the first line. Answer the question. Continue for the rest of the passage. Answer all the general questions at the end.

    Pretty simple strategy, but it worked for me.
  • Irvine IvyIrvine Ivy Registered User Posts: 81 Junior Member
    are there any pattens to the questions?

    For the SAT, the questions and passage are written in chronological order. But for the ACT, the only way is to read really, really fast?
  • ougnalaougnala Registered User Posts: 367 Member
    I got another suggestion - more of a question. Would it help to read all the questions first? Even though it's hard to remember all the questions, it might be beneficial when you get to the parts in the passage where it addresses the questions.

    and I second llpitch in marking the parts of the passages where the answers to some questions reside.
  • khoitrinhkhoitrinh Registered User Posts: 669 Member
    reading the questions first simply wastes precious time. Just learn to read faster. Skim the passage if you have to. Some people have their little strategies, but I don't think it saves enough time to matter.
  • PeytonclinePeytoncline Registered User Posts: 2,465 Senior Member
    here's the strategy I use for reading:

    read the passages as fast as i can and NOT try to comprehend everything.. if i missed one or two sentences, i'd just blitz over them b/c chances are they aren't needed... also.. by just reading it and NOT TRYING to comprehend it, you remember a lot more than you think... on the first three tests, i tried to comprehend it... average score was a 23 (25, 21, 23) on reading.... on the last 2, i didn't try to comprehend it, and my average jumped 10 whole points to a 33 on reading (32 and 34)... that's the strategy for me that works on both science and reading... on science, i read even faster and really skim it because the questions usually refer you to where you need to go if you look carefully... but on reading i take a little more time to read it without going over the time limit

    remember, it's not reading fast without understanding -- it's reading fast without TRYING to understand. If you sit there and constantly think about what you're reading, you'll slow down and you can get confused. If you just read it without thinking about what your reading, you'll retain a lot more information than when you think. It's a weird concept, and it took me a while to grasp. But, when you eventually get it down, it really pumps your reading score up (from 25, 21, and 23 up to a 32 and 34 for me). When did this, I was able to answer 4 of the 10 questions of each passage without even going back to the passage (all in my memory). I then answered 2 to 3 by looking at the passage to make sure I had the right choice (i thought I knew the answer, but I wasn't totally sure). And, I answered the remaining 3 to 4 questions by searching the passage b/c i didn't know the answers. Because I did this, my timing got a lot better (I still had moments where I got behind on time, but some passages just naturally take longer than others for me). But I always finished under this method, whether it was at home or those 2 times i took the test and got a composite of 34 with the 32 in reading and a composite of 35 with the 34 in reading

    that helped me.. there are many other strategies out there, but your problem and the problem i had with reading a little while back are pretty identical.. so try this out for a while and see if it works (it takes a little time, practice, and patience, but it'll work out)... took me a few months, but i eventually got the hang of it
  • RainmakerRainmaker Registered User Posts: 176 Junior Member
    Although these are all great strategies you must remember that they don't work for everyone. Try using each strategy on 2-3 passages with ~8 minute time limit and see which one feels the most fluid and yields the highest number correct. When you do find one that works for you, you can concentrate on speed by setting a time limit - say 40 minutes with less than 2 wrong. Slowly lower the time limit until you can comfortably finish 4 passages within 30 minutes with less than 3 errors.
  • arachnophobia12arachnophobia12 Registered User Posts: 2,722 Senior Member
    My "strategy"? I read the passages, then answered the questions-it's as simple as that.
  • PeytonclinePeytoncline Registered User Posts: 2,465 Senior Member
    yeah, right, there are many strategies.. mine works for some (including me); reading the first and last sentence of the first paragraph and then the first sentence of the remaining paragraphs is another; diving right into the questions is another, etc... i was just listing mine as an option since it worked for me. if it doesn't work for you (if you need to use it at all, that is), then forget about it b/c there's another strategy out there that's better for you
  • okatefokatef Registered User Posts: 48 Junior Member
    One thing I've been trying is only reading 3 out of the 4 passages. That way I can spend more time on the first 3. I skip the passage that I am weakest in (social sciences for me). I think it is better to focus on 3 and get all the answers right than to rush through all 4 and get several wrong in each. Then, on the section I didn't complete, I randomly fill in answers at the last minute so I have a shot at getting a couple right. If you get all the answers right on the 3 you tried in, and get 2 right on the section you guessed in, that leaves you with a score of 30. Good enough for me.
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