ACT Strategies: Reading

By Talynn Walker


The reading portion of the ACT is 40 questions to be answered in 35 minutes. If you take three minutes to answer read each passage, you will have 30 seconds to answer each question. There are four subject areas of reading, which are: prose fiction or literary narrative, social science/ history, humanities, and natural science. Here are a few strategies to help you with the reading portion of the ACT.

Eat dessert first

Select passages in the order you like or you understand the best

Always read the title and blurb at the top

Titles will often tell you what the story is about, so it is important to read them.Also some articles will hold a small paragraph, or a few sentences, before the article begins to give more background information on the article.

Read and skim the passages before the questions

Reading or skimming through the passage allows you to get insight on the article and you may be able to answer a few questions without having to go back.

Always annotate!

Underline main ideas and circle key words or nouns.This will make it easier to find the answers to many questions without having to search for them.

Practice making 2-3 word summaries for each paragraph in the margin

Making summaries in the margins will allow you to easily go back and see what that paragraph was about without having to reread it.Pace yourselfHave a plan to manage time.Having a plan to manage your time will help you make sure you get through all of the articles and questions.