Many students preparing to write the ACT English Section might be struggling with the fear of what the exams might look like. Some of them believe that the questions are difficult and tricky. The thought of sitting for one can be overwhelming and even anxiety-inducing. But is it really that bad, especially when many students successfully pass the ACT every year? You, too, can be one of them with just a little effort and some ACT English Section tips up your sleeves.
ACT English Section Briefly Explained
The ACT English Section covers a wide range of writing style and grammar rules that tests your skills in many areas. Here’s what you need to know to be ready.
ACT English questions are generally designed to test your language skills. Basically, you have to identify and fix grammatical and punctuation errors in the given questions. You will need to enhance the style, logical flow, and organization of ideas in five passages. This might sound like a lot, but it is nothing that a little dose of daily practice questions can’t fix. Such simple habits can enhance your English skills and give you an edge in the exam.
So, what does it look like? You can expect to see several essays followed by multiple-choice questions. To answer them correctly, you need to read the passages carefully and understand the content of each. Then, choose the option that best answers the given questions. The ACT English section basically puts you in the position of an editor who has to revise and proofread the given texts.
Questions to Expect
The English section contains 75 questions which are divided into two categories, the usage or mechanical questions and the rhetorical skills questions. The usage section has questions testing your punctuation skills, grammar usage, and sentence structure. The rhetorical questions, on the other hand, will test your sentence strategy, organization, or cohesion of ideas and style. Students who are struggling in any of these areas often see an improvement in their performance after their parents get a private tutor to bring them up to speed.
The English ACT test has a four scores system. One score for the section and three scores for specific skills and abilities. You get awarded percentages (29-32%) based on your ability to understand the point or perspective of the writing or essay. You get another (15-17%) score for your language skills which includes being able to choose the correct word that maintains the same tone and style as used in the essay.
The remaining (52-55%) percentage is given based on how well you can adhere to the rules or conventions of standard English as you fix up punctuation errors and make other corrections. Still, you do not lose marks for wrong guesses or unanswered questions. These percentages are then converted into a scale of 1-36 for your composite score.
4 Practical ACT English Section Tips
Preparing adequately for the test requires good command of the English language rules. Yet, this does not mean that you have to memorize your textbook. So, here are some ACT English section tips to simplify the process.
Tip 1. Enhance Your Grammar Skills Using Practice ACT Questions
This is one of the most common ACT English tips out there and for a good reason. The more you review grammar rules, especially those used in ACT practice tests, the easier it will be for you to tackle them head-on when you see similar questions on the test day. Also, there are several resources online that provide practical ACT techniques for unbeatable results that are easy to apply and can help you improve your scores.
Tip 2. When in Doubt, Use the Elimination Method
The elimination method is not just something that works for mathematics. In fact, applying it to the ACT English Section can help you find the most likely answer to the questions.
Here is how it works. You start by mentally crossing off any answer choices that do not fix the errors until you reach the last option. Chances are that by the time you are down to just two options, you can correctly guess the best answer to the question. Sometimes, there is no correct answer as the given question/text is grammatically correct. In this case, there is no need to change anything. You can choose the “No Change” option and move on to the next question.
Tip 3. Work on Your Time Management Skills
Your ACT prep is only complete if you take some time to hone your time management skills. You will get 45 minutes to answer all 75 questions, meaning you will have less than a minute for each. Realistically, you cannot expect to spend the same time on every question. So, time management secrets, like being able to quickly scan the passage to understand the main theme, can be a game-changer.
Tip 4. Trust Your Instincts
If you have been studying hard, you have probably built up more tips and hacks to your mental bank of grammar rules than you might notice. It is not strange to see a word misspelled and recognize that something is not right, even when unsure what it is or how. The same thing can happen on the test day. Occasionally, you will see the odd question or two that seem wrong, but you just can’t figure out why. A good rule of thumb is to play it by ear and see if it still sounds off.
The ACT English Section can easily become one of the best parts of your ACT test experience if you put in the right effort and apply the tips mentioned in this blog. Remember that a bit of consistency goes a long way, so begin now to learn, practice, and perfect your skills. Put in your best now, and you will surely be happy with the outcome.