ACT Test – The Reading Model


ACT reading stratetgyACT Test

There are many arguments about how you should handle the reading section. Some teachers think that the best way to do this is to go straight to the questions, and then look back on the answers, figuring that there are usually line numbers to indicate which portions of the text you need to look back on to get the correct answer. What they often do not tell you is that you’ll have no idea what the main ideas of the passage are, and you won’t be able to discern the author’s point of view by reading only individual lines.

Other teachers think that the best way to do it is to go through each passage reading very carefully, because time management is of the essence, and looking back on the passage, even when using line numbers, is going to take up much of your time. They insist that reading carefully the first time through is the best way to do it so as to limit the amount of looking back you have to do, allowing you to get more answers correct.

There are tremendous problems with both methods. In the first, you have the issue of needing to basically guess at about 40% of the questions on the test because you can’t always look back to specific line numbers to gain general information about a whole passage. In the second method, while you’ll certainly score a higher percentage with what you are able to complete, it is rare for these kinds of readers to get through the entire test, and are therefore left with one or more passages that they simply didn’t get to at all when time runs out.


The best method, then, is to use a hybrid model which utilizes the best of both models.

The approach is to spend no less than two minutes reading the entire passage. This is challenging, certainly, but it can be done. With practice, you’ll start to learn what two minutes feel s like, and you’ll be able to do it with pretty good comprehension along the way.

While you’re reading, you’ll be marking up the passage with underlines and circles, which creates a nice road map to where you can find more detailed information on the specific answers. Once you’re done with reading, you always look back on every problem with a line number, or where it asks you for the definition of a word. With practice, this should take no more than a half minute per question, at which speed you’ll definitely be able to make the best possible choices.