ACT Reading Passages: The Most Important Question

ACT Reading Passages: The Most Important Question

By /

blogquestionsWho, what, when, where, why, and how. What’s the most important question on the ACT Reading test?

While you’re reading an ACT Reading passage, you need to make a mental index of what you read.

When you look in the back of a non-fiction book, you’ll find an index that alphabetically lists the content of the book, along with page numbers.

When you’re going through an ACT Reading passage, you should be making a similar list in your mind. You should be remembering where to find important information, and where different sections of the passage start and stop. The reason for this is that the ACT Reading questions often ask you about a specific section of the ACT Reading passage. For example, the part where he talks about his childhood home, or where he talks about a childhood illness, or the part where he talks about going to school.

If you can remember where these specific sections are, you can save a lot of time. Some ACT Reading questions refer to a specific line number, but many don’t. It’s then up to you to find the relevant part of the passage.

In a perfect world, you should be able to remember WHERE everything is. Knowing WHERE everything is, is more important than knowing what’s in it, because the ACT Reading test is an open book test, meaning that you get to look at the passage to answer the questions. WHERE is more important than who, what, when, why, or how, because if you know where the information is, you can answer all the rest of the questions.

What can get in your way of doing well on the ACT Reading test is if you have trouble finding where a specific part of the passage is, or if you have difficulty understanding what the passage is saying, or if you have a misunderstanding what the question is asking.

By making a mental index of where to find everything, you can simplify your job and eliminate the first barrier to scoring well on the ACT Reading test.

Until you get really good at this, you might want to practice numbering the distinct parts of the passage on the ACT Reading test. Write a number next to the side of any part of the passage that you want to remember by the time you get to the questions.

“Oh, this is section one, about his dog. Oh, this is section two, about his cat. Oh, this is section three, about the benefits of a dog vs. a cat. This is section four, where the dog and cat have a fight.”

Remembering where these things are can make the difference for you on the ACT Reading test.