ACT Chalk Talk #4
If you have students who are more likely to read a tweet than listen in class, you’re not the only one! We’ve prepared 9 tweet-worthy tips that will boost your students’ ACT scores all out of proportion to the time they spend reading them. Feel free to cut and paste, share them with your students via social media, or even broadcast them old school: one per day over the intercom. (No attribution required.)
Never leave an answer blank.
There is no penalty for guessing on the ACT, so finish the test with a happy answer sheet: no blanks, even if you have to guess.
On the Reading passages, underline the main idea of each paragraph. Don’t let yourself slip into passive reading. If you’re having difficulty understanding what you’re reading, try to paraphrase each paragraph as you read it.
Careless errors can cost you tons of points, especially in Math. Is the answer supposed to be negative or positive? Did you answer the actual question? Are the units right? What about place value? Did you bubble in the answer you intended? Don’t do all of the work and then miss out on all of the points because of a simple mistake.
Sound it out.
If it sounds wrong on the English test, it is wrong. (The opposite isn’t true: if it sounds right, that doesn’t automatically mean that it is right.)
In English, Reading, and Science, split up the test by passage and treat each passage as its own miniature test. Only allow 8 minutes per passage for English and Reading, and 5 to 6 minutes per passage for Science. Some of the last questions might be the easiest ones, so don’t run out of time before you get to them.
Don’t guess C.
Toward the end of the test, choices C and H (the third bubble) are the worst blind guesses you can make. Choices D and J as well as choices E and K (Math only) are far better guesses on the last quarter of the test.
Two rights make a wrong.
There is only ever one correct answer for each question. If there seem to be two right answers, this is a sure sign that you have misunderstood the question and need to re-read. Chances are, the two “right answers” are probably both wrong!
Eliminate, eliminate, eliminate.
Even if you don’t know the answer to a question, you can eliminate one or two choices that are unlikely. Always do at least that. Let’s say there are two students who have no idea how to answer any Reading questions: one guesses blindly, the other eliminates two choices on every question and then guesses. The first student ends up with a 13 on her Reading test. The second student ends up with a 21!
Know your goal.
Before you take the ACT, know what score you’re going for in each subject area and use the conversion tables your school supplies to work out how many questions you need to answer in each section to reach your goal. This will help you stay motivated and make better time management decisions.