3 Tips for ACT Reading Section Questions

act reading tips

Just like you need strategies for the ACT reading passages, there are three basic tips you can incorporate when answering the ACT reading section questions.

Reading QuestionTip #1: Know the answer in your head before reading the answer choices

The first approach is to read the question and decide on an answer in your head before reading the choices.

Then, either answer the question, or return to the passage to confirm the answer in your head. Or, before reading the answer choices, decide that you know exactly where in the passage to find the answer, return to that spot in the passage, then say the answer in your own words.

The key here is to know the answer in your head before reading the answer choices.

The key here is to know the answer in your head before reading the answer choices. 

Once you’ve decided on an answer, then you can review the answer choices and find the one that matches what you decided. This is the fastest way to answer the questions – but not all questions can be answered this way.

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Reading Question Tip #2: Read the question and look through the answer choices

The second approach is to read the question and look through the answer choices for the answer. This is an approach you would use if you don’t immediately know the answer to the question upon reading it, but you feel like you’d know the answer if you saw it. 

If you need to confirm your choice, look back in the passage with purpose. Never go back to the passage unsure about what you’re looking for. Once you confirm your answer choice, circle it and move on.

Never go back to the passage unsure about what you’re looking for.

Reading Question Tip #3: Use the process of elimination

The third approach comes as a result of striking out on approaches one and two. Maybe you’ve attempted option one or two, but you’re not seeing satisfactory answers. In our third approach, you have to decide what answers are wrong.

This is where the process of elimination comes in. Move through each answer choice and decide if it is correct or incorrect. Remember, some of these questions can be tricky, and could appear to have two correct answers. Focus in on what the question is really asking. You will be able to find the answer in the passage. You should be left with only one best answer.

Remember, some of these questions can be tricky, and could appear to have two correct answers. Focus in on what the question is really asking. You should be left with only one best answer.

Be comfortable with the fact that these questions happen, and the process that you follow when they come up. If you’re really stumped, just pick an answer and move on – these things happen.

If you have lots of time before the test, the best thing you can do to prepare for the ACT Reading questions and passages is read more. Read a variety of material: read newspapers, read magazine articles, read books or letters from before the year 1900. You want to get comfortable with all types of passages and vocabulary you could encounter on the test.

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Further reading:

How to Ace the ACT Reading Section
Ways to Stay Focused on the Reading Section
About the ACT Reading Passage Types: Literary Narrative/Prose Fiction

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