ACT Red Book's Practice Test Reliability and TIPS PLEASE!

<p>Today and yesterday I took the Practice Test 1 and Practice Test 2 of the ACT Red Book (aka the official tome of the ACT)</p>

<p>I ended up doing quite well on both of them under timed restrictions. Composite for both was 36 (35 36 35 36 and 36 36 36 36)</p>

<p>I found that the most stressful part of the test was the reading section. I mean, each passage and its subsequent questions had to be completed in a little under 9 minutes. I was reading each of the passages within 2 minutes and then scrambling to get the answers to each question. For instance, I remember that the Humanities passage took me 10-11 minutes too! </p>

<p>Every other section was rather straightforward and definitely gave you enough time to complete it. The science section was basically just a wordsearch/diagramsearch on fast mode for 35 minutes while the math and reading sections were logical (but not too stressful) sections.</p>

<p>Honestly, how can I perform under pressure better on the reading sections of the ACT? Some of my answers (I feel) were obtained through a stroke of luck. I was never 100% confident in my reading answers. </p>

<p>Any help would be great! I think I am going to take the ACT on the next available test date. </p>

<p>please relay some of your essay experiences if you could too! I would love to hear them!</p>

<p>What made the most sense to me in succeeding in reading was the following mantra: "Understand everything, remember some things." This is really crucial IMO:</p>

<ul>
<li><p>If you understand everything, you will increase the likelihood that you will recall /where/ important details are in the passage. This is important, as many times the ACT will ask you about a detail without telling you where it is. (Most, if not all difficult questions, employ this trickery). Skimming a passage will have robbed you of any recollection of where important details are. Trusting yourself to SLOW DOWN and understand every bit of the passage is crucial; then, when you've only got 1-2 minutes to then respond to the questions, at least you can be confident that you won't have to re-read the passage when you're redoing questions.</p></li>
<li><p>Remember some things. Invariably some details are going to stand out to you, because in literature certain characters, ideas, and details just resonate with you for whatever reason. You should use this to your advantage when you're answering questions. Whatever important things you can remember from the passage (perhaps because you can relate to them) will help you tremendously in saving time.</p></li>
</ul>

<p>A note about the humanities passage: I never was able to finish a humanities passage within 8:45. I always went over. But that's not a bad thing: it's no different from the math section where you cruise through the easy problems to spend more time with the difficult ones. Only in reading, the order is reversed; difficult is first and everything else relatively easy comes after. You may want to do the easy passages first, but I don't see why either way couldn't work. Whatever works for you.</p>

<p>Full disclosure: got a 33 on reading.</p>

<p>So at the moment I am doing the method where you read in 2 minutes (fast mode) and then answer the questions at around 41 seconds each question. </p>

<p>Based on your advice, I should read the passages more carefully (let's say I let myself read the passage for 4 minutes). Then, should I be confident with only ~20 seconds to answer each question?</p>

<p>I'll test out this method and see if it works. Thanks for the advice!</p>

<p>I don't think the Red Book is entirely reliable. I get from 33 to 35 every time on practice tests, but a measly 32 on the real thing.</p>

<p>Yup. And if it doesn't work, keep trying new things. As long as you are cognizant of what is working and what isn't, and continue to experiment, you'll be on the way to improving your score.</p>