ACT Readiness

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Test taking tips and strategies for all 4 sections of the ACT!


<ul><li>1.ACT ASSESSMENT READINESS WORKSHOP</li></ul><p>2. The ACT The Facts </p> <ul><li>Its acurriculum-basedbut not necessarily acontent-basedtest </li></ul><ul><li><ul><li>It requires baseline knowledge and high-order thinking skills on ACTs College Readiness Standards and the National Curriculum Survey .If you teach to the standards, youre teaching to the test </li></ul></li></ul><ul><li><ul><li>The test is more about interpretation, analysis and process than content memorization especially in the Science section </li></ul></li></ul><ul><li><ul><li>E.g., a tester is not required to memorize the the periodic table but is required to understand the role of its elements </li></ul></li></ul><ul><li><ul><li>This said, you do need to know some baseline content.E.g., it doesnt give you an algebraic function like you may see on a SAT but expects the tester to have this knowledge at his or her disposal </li></ul></li></ul><p>3. The ACT Rigor Means Ready </p> <ul><li>There is no question that the best way to prepare for the ACT assessment is through rigorous coursework based on the College Readiness Standards and a solid ACT score correlates to a successful college freshman experience. </li></ul><ul><li>For this reason, preparation for an ACT is not just preparation for a college entrance exam but rather for college coursework itself since its tied to College Readiness and your ability to succeed as a freshman in college </li></ul><p>4. Take Rigorous Core Courses </p> <ul><li>English - 4 years </li></ul><ul><li><ul><li>English 9, English 10, English 11, English 12 </li></ul></li></ul><ul><li>Math - 3 years + </li></ul><ul><li><ul><li>Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, Trigonometry, Calculus (no calculus on the ACT but the high-order skills required significantly impact the ACT math score. </li></ul></li></ul><ul><li>Natural Sciences - 3 years + </li></ul><ul><li><ul><li>General/Physical/Earth Science, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics </li></ul></li></ul><ul><li>Social Sciences - 3 years + </li></ul><ul><li><ul><li>American History, World History, American Government, Economics, Geography, Psychology </li></ul></li></ul><p>5. Take the right courses, get the right score 6. Take the right courses, get the right score 7. Using your score to improve skills and understanding! </p> <ul><li>16-19 Score Range </li></ul><ul><li>Solve routine one-step arithmetic problems, such as single-steppercent, and calculate a simple average of whole numbers </li></ul><ul><li>Perform computations on data from tables and graphs </li></ul><ul><li>20-23 Score Range </li></ul><ul><li>Solve routine two-step or three-step arithmetic problems involving concepts, such as rate and proportion, tax added, percentage off, computing anaverage with negative integers, and computing with a given average </li></ul><ul><li>Translate from one representation of datato another (e.g., a bar graph to a circle graph) </li></ul><p>Describes the skillswithin a score range that a student is likely to know Suggestions tostrengthen skills andunderstanding College Readiness Standards </p> <ul><li>Activities that may benefit students: </li></ul><ul><li>Do multistep computations with rational numbers </li></ul><ul><li>Gather, organize, display, and analyze data in a variety of ways </li></ul><p>Skill-building 8. And statements that provide suggestions toprogress to a higher level of achievement Statementsthat describe whatstudents are likely toknow andbe able todo... ACTsStandards for Transition helps students improve scores 9. The Goal of the ACT </p> <ul><li>To enable a student to truly illustrate his/her college and career readiness and mastery of core content unencumbered by the barriers inherent to standardized tests, including time sensitivity, test management, fatigue, pressure, and unfamiliarity with the exam </li></ul><ul><li>Fortunately, there are non-cognitive strategies that are systemic to standardized tests that can enable testers to better illustrate their true abilities so they can turn their poor testing intoa positive</li></ul><p>10. The Ultimate Goal of this Preparation </p> <ul><li>To put the test-taker in a position to control the test rather than letting the test control the test-taker </li></ul><p>Its all about tester control 11. GENERAL TEST-TAKING STRATEGIES 12. Since its Curriculum-Based, it is Somewhat Predictable Since the exam draws from a body of knowledge that doesnt substantially change over time, it is limited in the variety of questions it can ask.Therefore, knowledge of the College Readiness Standards is the tests best preparation 13. Predictability = Points </p> <ul><li>Since the test only changes in subtle ways you can determine your strengths, weaknesses and patterns </li></ul><ul><li>MATH </li></ul><ul><li>33 algebra questions </li></ul><ul><li><ul><li>14 pre-algebra</li></ul></li></ul><ul><li><ul><li>10 elementary algebra 9 intermediate algebra </li></ul></li></ul><ul><li>23 geometry questions:</li></ul><ul><li><ul><li>14 plane geometry</li></ul></li></ul><ul><li><ul><li>9 coordinate geometry </li></ul></li></ul><ul><li>4 Trigonometry questions </li></ul><ul><li>Know what to study and what to invest your time in </li></ul><p>14. Punctuation10 ques. Grammar and Usage12 ques. Sentence Structure18 ques. Rhetorical Strategy12 ques. Organization11 ques. Style12 ques. 75 items, 45 minutes ACT English Test Content 15. Bubble in Blocks </p> <ul><li>Answer the questions in blocks of ten on your test and then transfer to the bubble sheet in one action this shaves off about 8 seconds per question, which may translate into a testers ability to answer an additional TWO questions per section, which may translate to time for an additional two questions</li></ul><ul><li>Start answering one-to-one at the five minute mark </li></ul><ul><li>Reserve the last couple of minutes to make sure all your bubbles are filled in (no penalty for guessing)</li></ul><p>16. Letter-of-the-Day </p> <ul><li>No guessing penalty </li></ul><ul><li>Go into the test with a Letter-of-the-Day already determined.No letter is more correct than any other (no Ouija Board guessing) </li></ul><ul><li>Dont guess yourself right out of your guaranteed 20% to 25% </li></ul><ul><li>If youve used Process-of-Elimination (POE) to eliminate your Letter-of-the-day then randomly guess from whats left (now you have a 24.5% to 33.3% chance) </li></ul><p>17. SACRIFICE TO SUCCEED </p> <ul><li>215 questions on the test. Answer 125 correctly and you achieve the national mean.On most tests, 55% correct equals a fail.On the ACT, 55% represents the national mean.The key is determining the right questions to spend your time on </li></ul><ul><li>Therefore, its important to recognize and answer the easier questions correctly while saving the most difficult questions for last.Test questions basically and slightlygoe from easiest to hardest although this can be personal and there are exception that well discuss</li></ul><ul><li>In other words, you sometimes need to sacrifice to succeed.Recognize the difficult questions, save them,guess if unsure, and live to fight another, more winnable battle </li></ul><p>18. Three Pass System Now-Later-Never: TRIAGE </p> <ul><li>Do NOT necessarily answer the questions in order </li></ul><ul><li>Do the questions you know that you know first, even if their supposed to be more difficult </li></ul><ul><li>Bubble in your letter-of-the-day for the ones you KNOW you DONT know </li></ul><ul><li>Circle questions that youre not sure about but want to leave some time for at the end to give another try.Dont get stubborn and try to work tough questions out on your first pass</li></ul><ul><li>If you get stuck midstream on a question, DONT get stubborn.Youre probably not going to have an Ah Ha moment but you might on a second pass with fresh eyes. </li></ul><ul><li>By answering the easy questions on your first pass, youll have more confidence during your second pass </li></ul><p>19. Process of Elimination(POE) </p> <ul><li>Incorrect answers may be easierto spot and eliminate than your ability to work out the correct answer </li></ul><ul><li>Which of the following alternatives to the underlined portion is LEAST acceptable? </li></ul><ul><li>A.Similar to </li></ul><ul><li>B.Closely related to </li></ul><ul><li>C. Separate from </li></ul><ul><li>D.Resembling </li></ul><ul><li>A,B and D are too similar and subjective </li></ul><ul><li>Answers that too close cant be correct </li></ul><p>20. More POE </p> <ul><li>The test does have some distracter answers, so when you think youre making a good guess, you may be picking the exact wrong answer they want you to </li></ul><p>Based on the passage, what does the author mean by the word diorama? A.Dramatic B. Miniature C.Equal D.Theatrical A and D may be distracters since they could could both be related to logical conclusions you could draw from Diorama. 21. MATH STRATEGIES 22. Math Timing </p> <ul><li>Questions tend to proceed from easier to more difficult although this distinction can be largely personal.You must recognize whats easier or harder for YOU regardless of its number </li></ul><ul><li>The test will typically throw in one REALLY difficult question/s early to slow you down and cause frustration </li></ul><ul><li>Typically, you can judge difficulty by how many steps are involved: one or two; vs. two or three; vs. three or more </li></ul><p>23. Hard Question 41.Four carpenters each built an average of 42 chairs last week.If no chairs were left uncompleted, and if Peter, who built 50 chairs, built the greatest number of chairs, what is theleastnumber of chairs one of the carpenters could have built, if no carpenter built a fractional number of chairs? Question 22 has two steps whereas question 41 has four steps.Therefore, question 41 might be a good one to save Medium Question 22.Four carpenters built an average of 42 chairs each last week.If Cynthia built 36 chairs, Nancy built 74 chairs, and Kevin built 13 chairs, how many chairs did Peter build? 24. Bypass the Bogs - Math </p> <ul><li>Skip the questions (on your first pass) that you know are tough for YOU.Whats tough varies from person to person </li></ul><ul><li>Dont spend five-minutes to miss number seven, leaving yourself less time to devote to numbers 28, 29, and 30, which may be appreciably easier </li></ul><ul><li>Determine question difficulty early (i.e., is it a one-step, two-step or three step problem) </li></ul><ul><li>Know your natural strengths and weaknesses.I.e., you might be great at geometric slope questions but very poor at cosmic algebra, where youre not necessarily solving for x </li></ul><p>25. Math:Now, Later, Never </p> <ul><li>First Pass :Youre sure you know how to do it </li></ul><ul><li>Second Pass : You think you know how to do it so you give it a quick try but you probably circle it and wait until a second pass </li></ul><ul><li>Third pass :Youre sure you dont know the answer, so you bubble in the letter-of-the-day and you might take another shot, time allowing </li></ul><ul><li>By doing all the easier questions on the first pass, you gain confidence going into the second pass </li></ul><p>26. What Calculator to Use </p> <ul><li>Ideally, use a TI-83 </li></ul><ul><li>TI-89 and TI-92s are not allowed </li></ul><p>27. Plugging in and Backsolving </p> <ul><li>When asked to solve for x, then try working backwards from your answers choices (assuming you dont know the equation) always starting with the middle answer choice, this way youll never have to plug in more than two choices </li></ul><ul><li>When not asked to solve for a particular variable you can plug-in reasonable numbers </li></ul><p>28. 2 .If $600 was deposited in a bank account for one year and earned interest of $42, what was the interest rate? F . 6.26% G .7.00% H .8.00% I .9.00% K . 9.50% </p> <ul><li>If you know the equation, use it.If you dont know the equation, then backsolve from the answers </li></ul><ul><li>Start with H so depending on the answer you only have to work in one direction </li></ul><ul><li>Does 8% of 600 = $42?No it equals 48 so youll want to move down to 7% </li></ul><ul><li>Does 7% of 600 = $42?Yes it does equal 42 so you have your answer </li></ul><p>Backsolving 29. READING STRATEGIES 30. Prose Fiction25% Social Sciences25% Humanities25% Natural Science25% 40 items, 35 minutes ACT Reading Test Content 31. </p> <ul><li>Testers typically find that one type ofpassage is consistently more difficult for them than the other three, typically by up to 20%.Save this difficult passage for last </li></ul><ul><li>The toughest passages are usually either prose fictions (sub-text, metaphor, allegory, etc.) or natural science (unfamiliar terminology) but, again, this is very personal </li></ul><p>Know Your Strengths 32. Skip to Score </p> <ul><li>Testers have approximately 9 minutes per passage if theyre going to attempt all four.With this time pressure and the existence of a tough passage, testers will typically make several careless errors while rushing through easier passages just to get to the tough passage, which theyll typically do very poorly on regardless of the amount of time they invest </li></ul><ul><li>If testers choose to concentrate on three passages, they have almost 12 minutes per passage, thus theyll probably make fewer careless errors.Assuming the tester guesses into 25% on the tough passage, this tester will achieve a score in the top 10 percentile of the country by only concentrating on three passages and guessing on the fourth </li></ul><ul><li>Of course, this strategy must be used with discretion dependent upon the testers realistic target score </li></ul><p>33. The Loop </p> <ul><li>Find thecritical words and phrases in the questions (dont actually read the question) </li></ul><ul><li>Find those same critical words and phrases in the passage so you know to slow down </li></ul><ul><li>Skim the passage and note the main idea of each paragraph.Youre not reading for discrete information but rather for main idea </li></ul><ul><li>Practice the loop. </li></ul><p>34. Extremes are Inexcusable</p> <ul><li>ACT is careful to avoid correct answers that represent extreme views </li></ul><ul><li>Preferred Answer Choice words: </li></ul><ul><li>may, can, should, usually, some </li></ul><ul><li>Questionable Answer Choice Words: </li></ul><ul><li>always, never, will, must, unquestionably</li></ul><p>35. 18.Based on the passage, how does the author feel about the work of Langston Hughes? A . He was thegreatestblack author of his time B . His appeal wasuniversal C . He wasone ofthe greatest authors of the 20 thcentury D . His workonlyappealed to Americans 36. ENGLISH STRATEGIES 37. Punctuation13% Grammar and Usage16% Sentence Structure24% Rhetoric Strategy16% Organization15% Style16% 75 items, 45 minutes ACT English Test Content 38. </p> <ul><li>Do the questions in order leaving the Rhetorical questions for last (if for no other reason than rhetorical questions are typically more time consuming than the other types of questions) </li></ul><p>Refrain from Rhetoric 39. </p> <ul><li>Look for comma splicing.I.e., linking two independent clauses without any punctuation </li></ul><ul><li>Pay very close attention if a verb or adverb is in the answer choice.Odds are that the answer is based on their proper usage </li></ul><p>Some of Their Favorite Kinds of Questions 40. Science Section 41. Drawn from Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Physical Science: Data Representation38% Research Summaries45% Conflicting Viewpoints17% 40 items, 35 minutes ACT Science Test Content 42. Know Whats in the Section </p> <ul><li>Charts and Graphs </li></ul><ul><li><ul><li>15 questions:3 passages </li></ul></li></ul><ul><li>Experiments (aka Research Summaries) </li></ul><ul><li><ul><li>18 questions: 3 passages </li></ul></li></ul><ul><li>Fighting Scientists (aka Conflicting Viewpoints) </li></ul><ul><li><ul><li>7 questions:1 passage </li></ul></li></ul><p>43. Charts and Graphs </p> <ul><li>They do not have summaries or experiments </li></ul><ul><li>Scan and look for trends </li></ul><ul><li>Use guesstimation and POE </li></ul><p>44. Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) </p> <ul><li>Answers are rarely based on questions that are based on rote memorization, discrete knowledge, and basic skills </li></ul><ul><li>Answers tend to require analysis, interpretation, assessments </li></ul><p>45. General Testing Considerations 46. Night Before and Morning of the Test </p> <ul><li>Do NOT try to learn any new information or take any NEW quizzes. Dont subject yourself to NEW information </li></ul><ul><li>Review information you already know and take quizzes youve already completed and done well on </li></ul><ul><li>Read the newspaper the morning of the test to warm up particularly the OP ED page (basically same length and similar themes are reading passages </li></ul><ul><li>Only review areas of strength </li></ul><ul><li>ONLY REINFORCE THE POSITIVE </li></ul><p>47. </p> <ul><li>Analyze a three-hour test for six hours rather than spend nine hours taking three tests.You need to know exactly why you got every question right as well as wrong </li></ul><p>Perfect Practice out Performs Persistent Practice 48. Test Information Release </p> <ul><li>You Can take the real test and get back the all the test questions, with a key and your answers </li></ul><ul><li>Best possible preparat...</li></ul>


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