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Acing the ACT:

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It is a national, standardized test. It is only ONE factor used for college ... (ACT knows that you are tired at this point & likely to make careless mistakes) ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Acing the ACT:


1
Acing the ACT
  • Strategies for Using Your Time Wisely While
    Taking the Test

2
What is the ACT?
  • It is a national, standardized test
  • It is only ONE factor used for college entrance
  • It is given five times per year in Iowa
  • It does NOT measure your worth, ability, or
    intelligence
  • It shows that you can take a standardized test
  • ACT company is located in Iowa City and it is not
    an educational institution
  • More colleges now accept the ACT that the SAT
  • It is based on the curriculum taught in Iowa City
    high schools

3
ACT Cell Phone Policy
  • Cell phones are NOT ALLOWED from the time of
    admission to the end of the test, even during
    breaks. They must be turned off and/or put away.
    Some locations do not allow them on the person
    at all. If you are caught with one, or if one
    vibrates or rings during the test, you can be
    ejected from the test.

4
Ten WRONG Rumors about the ACT
  • You cant use a calculator yes, you can, but
    it must be an approved type.
  • They make you write an essay. The essay is
    optional.
  • You cant study for the ACT. You can, and you
    should study the Preparing for the ACT booklet
  • Different states have different ACTs. They
    are all the same.
  • The ACT has a passing score. The scores range
    from 0-36 there is not passing score, but
    there are average scores.
  • The ACT tests your IQ. It is a
    curriculum-based test.
  • If you dont know an answer, pick A or F.
    This is ridiculous! There are no patterns to the
    answers on the ACT.
  • Never guess. You should take an educated
    guess if you do not know the answer.
  • The ACT is easier than the SAT. Not
    necessarily. It depends on the type of test on
    which you might do a better job. Its personal
    preference.
  • You cant take both the ACT and the SAT. Many
    students do both.

5
Truths about the ACT
  • Each question has only one answer. Dont waste
    time arguing with yourself about how more than
    one choice might be defended.
  • There are no intentional trick questions. There
    is no penalty for guessing, but there is a BIG
    penalty for leaving blanks.
  • The correct answers form no special pattern.
    ACT makes sure there is no pattern.
  • All choices are equally likely to occur.
    Correct answers are evenly distributed.
  • The directions are the same on every form of the
    test. - The test is not easier or harder
    depending on the month its given. They are all
    the same level of difficulty.
  • Items are arranged in random order of difficulty.
    Easy questions are mixed in with harder ones.
    That means the next one might be easier.
  • Its Okay to choose No Change. Its a valid
    answer.

6
What is the Structure of the ACT?
  • The entire test takes about 3 hours
  • There is usually one break between math and
    reading sections.
  • There are Four Sections
  • English 45 minutes, 75 questions
  • Math 60 minutes, 60 questions
  • Reading 35 minutes, 40 questions
  • Science Reasoning 35 minutes, 40 questions

7
How is the ACT Scored?
  • There are Five Main Scores
  • Each of the Four Sections, scored 0 36
  • Sub-scores can be ignored
  • Composite scored 0 36
  • This is your ACT Score
  • It is a simple average of the other four scores
  • English, Math, Reading, Science Reasoning

8
What Scores Are Possible?
9
Comparing the ACT SAT
  • ACT
  • Preferred by most Midwestern schools
  • Order of difficulty of questions random
  • Highest math level Trigonometry (4 questions)
    test booklet does not supply formulas
  • Heavily tested skills Grammar, Reading, Math
  • Penalty for wrong answers No
  • Scoring 1-36 for each subject, averaged together
    for composite score median about 21
  • Structure 4 tests and optional essay
  • Curriculum-based more straight-forward
  • SAT
  • Preferred by colleges on either coast
  • Order of difficulty of questions easy to hard
  • Algebra/Basic Geometry test booklet supplies
    formulas
  • Heavily tested skills Vocabulary, Reading, Math
  • Penalty for wrong answers Yes
  • 200-800 for Math and for Verbal added together
    for composite score median about 1000
  • Structure Verbal, Math, Experimental Essay
    required
  • Reasoning-based can be trickier

10
Look in Your Preparing for the ACT Booklet
  • Find the Practice Tests
  • Find the Answer Folder (front and back sides)
  • Find the Writing Section for Essays
  • Find the Scoring Section
  • Acquaint yourself with the entire bookletthis is
    what your test will be like!!!

11
Time-Cutting Tips for the ACT
  • Its OK to write on your test booklet, and you
    should
  • Use Process of Elimination ( Look for the WRONG
    answers first, then narrow down to the correct
    one)
  • Read the directions in the practice booklet the
    night before dont read them the day of the
    test to cut your time

12
Time-Cutting Tips for the ACT
  • Do the Easiest Questions FIRST, and
  • the hardest ones last
  • If you know the answer, answer the question.
  • If you dont know the answer, use process of
    elimination
  • If you still cannot figure it out, GUESS
  • Save the hardest for the last.

13
English Section
  • Five readings each with about 15 questions
  • Even mix of grammar, punctuation and style
  • If its NOT underlined, leave it alone!
  • Read the passage and pay close attention
  • Do NOT skip from question to question
  • Use process of elimination
  • NOTE Questions at the end of the passage refer
    to the passage as a whole

14
How to Practice for the English Test
  • - Work on One Passage at a time.
  • Study and take the test in the Practice Booklet,
    and score yourself, then study your mistakes.
  • TRAP - the question of the whole passage DO
    NOT re-read the entire passage! Use process of
    elimination and move on or guess!!

15
Math Section
  • 14 Pre-Algebra questions 10 Elementary Algebra
    questions 9 Intermediate Algebra questions 14
    Plane Geometry questions 4 Trigonometry
    questions
  • You can figure out which kind is which by looking
    at the test answers in the back of the practice
    booklet
  • Do Math in three passes
  • Deal with the questions you KNOW you can do FIRST
  • Deal with the ones you can work but which might
    take time SECOND
  • Guess any that you know are impossible.

16
Strategies for the Math Section
  • Use Ballpark method estimate instead of
    trying to find the exact answer.
  • 10 Rule estimate using 10 example -
    estimate  10 of 50 is 5
  • Plug In For algebra, try plugging in a
    mid-level number for the variable. By working it
    from the middle, you will know whether you need
    to increase or decrease the number (you might
    even get it right by plugging in the right
    number!)

17
Strategies for Math
  • Estimate when possible
  • Study the areas that are hardest for YOU
  • Use process of Elimination
  • Do the easy ones first
  • Dont use your calculator when you can figure in
    your head calculator use increases time spent
    solving the problem
  • Skip and come back to every problem that will
    slow you down
  • Check your work.
  • Keep your pencil moving!
  • Write freely in the test booklet.
  • Plud in options start with the middle answer,
    and then work up or down.
  • Never create long equations if you do, you are
    off-track.
  • Be Careful with story problems. PRACTICE them!!!
  • Review math textbooks and know math vocabulary
    words
  • Use the practice test and check your answers,
    paying attention to the wrong answers.

18
Strategies for Math Story Problems
  • Read the question part first.
  • Read the whole problem from the beginning.
  • Pull the math from the problem (what are they
    asking for? Average? Percentage? Sum?)
  • Re-read the problem.
  • Do the math.
  • Watch for extraneous numbers (stuff you dont
    need to work the problem).
  • Check your answer
  • PRACTICE over and over!!

19
Calculators
  • Acceptable to use
  • Basic 4-function calculator
  • Scientific calculator
  • Graphing Calculator
  • Unacceptable to use
  • Pocket organizers
  • Handheld or laptop computers
  • Electronic writing pads or pen-input devices
  • Models with a QWERTY keypad
  • Models with paper tapes
  • Models that make noise
  • Models that can communicate (transfer data or
    information) wirelessly with other calculators
  • Models that require a power cord
  • TIP Dont bring a calculator with which you are
    unfamiliar. Also, dont use a calculator for
    every problem. It can slow you down.

20
Reading Section
  • Four Passages, ten questions in each passage
  • Contents in order Prose fiction, social science,
    humanities, natural science
  • Each passage is about 100 lines long

21
Strategies for the Reading Section
  • Speed is the key!!
  • Do the questions that include line numbers or
    paragraph numbers FIRST
  • Underline words that jump out
  • Dont read for pleasure, read for speed
  • Read ONLY what you need to answer the questions
    much of the passage is extraneous.
  • If you study the questions first, you will not
    finish this test. Read the passage quickly
    BEFORE reading any questions.
  • Answer every question before starting the next
    passage, even if you have to guess. Dont skip
    any.
  • Guess if you need to, or use process of
    elimination.
  • Underline
  • Proper nouns (California), expressions that
    control sequence (ex initial attempt), and
    expressions that define relationships.

22
Strategies for the Reading Section
  • Look for reversal words
  • on the other hand however yet
  • rather although In spite of
  • nevertheless despite but
  • even though notwithstanding
  • These words reverse whatever is said before
    them.

23
Strategies for the Reading Section
  • Look for supporting words
  • additionally since moreover
  • besides in fact furthermore
  • These words emphasize what is said, so you
    should pay more attention to any sentences with
    these in them.

24
Strategies for the Reading Section
  • Look for result words
  • because so when therefore
  • consequently thus accordingly
  • These words are said before an important piece
    of information is given, so pay close attention
    to anything stated after these words.

25
Science Section
  • In order to make the test fair to everyone in the
    United States, ACT places everything you need to
    know right on the page.
  • Three Types of Questions in this section
  • Look it Up
  • What If?
  • Why?

26
Science Section
  • Composed of
  • Three Charts Graphs, 5 questions each
  • Mostly look it up questions
  • Three Experiments, 5 questions each
  • Key is knowing which experiments they refer to
  • Focus on what changes in each experiment
  • One Conflicting Viewpoints, 7 questions
  • Key is knowing how the argument is constructed
  • Read EVERYTHING in this section carefully slow
    down. Read the instructions.
  • Use Process of elimination and/or make charts of
    each viewpoint

27
Strategies for the Science Section
  • Charts Graphs
  • Decide in advance how much time to spend on each
    passage
  • Two types of questions
  • Those that ask you to read a value from the graph
  • Those that ask you to identify trends and
    relationships
  • Spend only 60-90 seconds studying the
    information
  • What is the graph about? Main idea the title
  • Identify the variables (years, parts per million,
    etc.). Horizontal? Vertical?
  • Determine whether scales are categorical or
    continuous.
  • Determine the maximum/minimum values of the
    graph.
  • Makes notes and transfer the information from the
    verbal description to the charts and tables.

28
Strategies for the Science Section
  • Conflicting Viewpoints passage
  • What is the author talking about in the passage?
  • Did the author start off with one opinion and end
    up with a different one? Was new evidence
    introduced that changes that was previously
    thought to be true?
  • What is the disagreement about?
  • Why do they disagree?

29
Strategies for the Science Section
  • Experiments Section
  • Most important thing is to look for changes
  • Finding comparing results
  • Look for trends
  • Look for increases, decreases
  • Make sure you are looking at the right experiment!

30
Strategies for the Science Section
  • Keep your pencil moving.
  • Watch for negative twist items (ACT knows that
    you are tired at this point likely to make
    careless mistakes)
  • contradicts does not support least relevant
  • not a critical factor. and so on.

31
Main Strategies for the ACT
  • Know how much time you have.
  • Understand the directions.
  • Understand the question formats.
  • Fill in the blanks carefully.
  • Erase completely.
  • Answer every question
  • Practice under simulated conditions.
  • Prepare yourself for the actual test.

32
What to Bring
  • Admission/registration form
  • PHOTO IDENTIFICATION!!!
  • Watch
  • Correct calculator
  • 3-4 sharpened 2 pencils
  • Good eraser
  • Layered clothing
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