Wednesday, May 5, 2010

ACT Reading - How You Can Improve Your Score

The ACT Reading Exam is administered on a computer and it is not time-limited. The questions are all multiple choice. I have created a protocol in taking the ACT Reading Exam which many students have found useful. They have found that following this protocol improved their performance in reading comprehension and therefore getting more of the answers correct. Also, you may adjust or revise this protocol according to your individual needs.

ACT Reading Protocol

1. Quickly read questions once (without reading the answer choices)
2. Read passage CAREFULLY at least twice. Sum up each paragraph in one phrase/sentence in your head. (If scrap paper is provided, do it on scrap paper.)
3. Write in one sentence the overall message, or main idea, of the author. Write in one sentence also the attitude or tone of the author (toward an issue, a character, or toward whatever the passage is addressing).
4. Begin answering the questions. For each question, read from the beginning of the passage up to the point where you believe the answer is located.

•By the time you are done, you should’ve read the entire passage AT LEAST THREE TIMES.
• Keep in mind that the creator of the questions in most cases is not the author of the passage. Think in the perspective of the creator of the questions who is probably an English instructor or professor. You have to try to get in the minds of two people, the author of the passage and creator of the questions.
• Use POE (the process of elimination) when answering the questions.
• Be careful not to just focus on one detail or one small area of the passage while ignoring the rest. Use the entire passage to get to the main idea (overall message) as well as the attitude and tone of the author.

An Unconventional Technique
Before reading, get your mind into the alpha state which will help you increase reading comprehension. You can put yourself into the alpha state within 20 seconds by doing a breathing exercise, a mind-calming technique, or saying a prayer. This has been backed up by scientific studies. The alpha state is also known as the “relaxation response” or the relaxed alert state. The more practice you have in reaching the relaxed-alert state, the more success you will have in reading comprehension improvement.

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