You don’t have to be a natural writer or reader to do well on the ACT English section. But you do have to pay attention. You can’t simply dismiss this section as “something I’m not good at.” Instead, view it like any other portion of the test. It’s something you can study for, prepare for, and ultimately use to improve your overall ACT score. Here are some essential ACT English section tips to help you prepare.
Keep It Simple
When you write, it’s tempting to use lots of extraordinary words to show off your vocabulary. But writing isn’t all about demonstrating vocabulary. It’s about the ability to put together words in a way that cohesively expresses your thoughts.
When in doubt, keep it simple. Don’t write two adjectives when one will suffice. Don’t write sentences that last for entire paragraphs. Your writing should be focused on the objective at hand: effective communication.
Practice Writing In Outline Form
Writing an essay will require a basic format. You’ll write a thesis, supporting paragraphs, and a conclusion. To keep this structure cohesive, you should try to practice by creating outlines first.
For example, take a point you want to express. That point is your thesis. Then add extra evidence to support that point. Divide those points up to serve as the basis for your supporting paragraphs. Start each supporting paragraph with a statement that asserts the point clearly.
As you learn to adhere to this basic structure, you’ll get a general sense of the flow of an essay. It will help you condense and clarify your thoughts. It can also help you stay within the time limits for the ACT essay section.
Try Reading Non-Fiction To Prepare
The ACT English section also tests reading comprehension. To prepare for that, try reading difficult non-fiction material on your own. After you read a difficult passage, try to draft a summary of the piece on a notecard. Don’t be afraid to try out exceptionally difficult material, either, as this will challenge you and make the ACT English Section seem like a breeze by comparison. There’s no substitute for reading.
Use Context Clues
It’s tempting to try and learn the dictionary from beginning to end to expand your vocabulary. But how many flash cards can you use, and how many words do you really expect to memorize? When taking the ACT, it can be just as powerful to use context to improve your understanding of vocabulary.
Brush Up On Grammar Rules
You’ll answer a lot of questions about the appropriate words and phrasing to use to make a sentence grammatically correct. How do you prepare for this? Reading will help. It can give you a natural “internal voice” that helps raise alarms when something sounds wrong. But don’t forget to brush up on the basic rules of grammar to give yourself even more confidence going into the exam.
Work With An ACT Prep Tutor
Of course, it can’t hurt to have someone in your corner. If you want realistic feedback on your ACT English section skills, consider hiring an ACT prep tutor today. Jantzi Test Prep has years of experience helping student to improve their skills for this important exam.