ACT English Quick Tip: Read Every Word

English is the section of the ACT where students often see the largest point increase from tutoring and practice. One way to move this score is to read all of an ACT English passage.

To save time, many students just read the underlined parts the exam asks you to correct. This is a huge mistake. Grammar requires context. How do you know what tense a sentences' verb should be in? The tense of the entire passage will tell you.

In the sentence below how do you know if a pronoun should be "it" or "they"?

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The only way to know is to read the sentence before. Try it again with context.

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You also will have to answer questions about the passage as a whole, which are difficult to get right if you only read snippets.

All of this means that when you approach an ACT English passage, start reading at the beginning of the passage. Read the entire first sentence. If there is an underlined section in the sentence, correct it only after you have read the full sentence. Once you have answered that question, pick up reading where you left off. Move this way correcting the underline parts as you read until you have read every word of the passage.

Megan Stubbendeck

About Megan Stubbendeck

Dr. Megan Stubbendeck is an eight-year veteran of the test prep industry with ten years of teaching experience. She earned her PhD in History from the University of Virginia, where she taught for three years in the History Department. She has been part of the test prep industry since 2007 and has earned perfect scores on the SAT, ACT, GRE, and multiple AP exams. As the CEO of ArborBridge, Megan oversees all aspects of ArborBridge operations and helped to create our innovative curriculum.

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