Most students are not fans of the reading test.  I find that 90% of my students really struggle with this portion of the test.  Students find the timing frustrating and the passages boring. Timing is tight, even for people that read all the time! The good news is that you can still score well on the test because the score is based off of how many questions you are getting correct.  There isn’t much I can recommend to make the passages more interesting. However, I can help you focus while you are reading! Here are some ACT Reading Tips and SAT Reading Tricks to make your score skyrocket!

There are many theories as to how to approach reading the passage. I’ve heard strategies such as skimming only, not reading at all, only reading the first and last paragraph, and only reading the first and last sentence of every paragraph.  The strategy that works with most students is to actually read the entire passage.

Reading Tips

While reading, I recommend annotating.  When I say annotating, I don’t mean writing and reflecting entire sentences about each paragraph. I mean writing one to two words to summarize a paragraph.  You don’t need to spend a lot of time thinking about it; write down the main idea. The easiest way for me to explain it is to think about the process when you write an essay. If you start with an outline, how do you go from the outline to the essay? You add details and transitions. For the essay on the test, you want to think about what the author’s outline might have looked like. You just need to know where in the passage it talks about different aspects. You need to know where to find the answers to the questions.

Follow along with your pencil as you are reading. It will help you focus, which will make your life a little easier.

Answering questions

You don’t earn any points on the test though until you answer questions.  There is where PREDICTING comes in to play. After you read a question, stop yourself before you read the answer choices!  I want you to read the question and answer the question in your own words. If you need to refer to the passage, go for it! It is an open book test; you should refer to the passage to find the answers.  THEN you read the answer choices and see which answer comes closest to what you thought the answer was! When you answer in your own words first, when you look for the correct answer, you are matching ideas. See how this goes for you, and let me know if you need help!