Free Summer Series to Improve SAT/ACT scores
Lesson One: Strategy for how to do Reading Sections to maximize the volume of correct answers.
Ok students, I am aware that many of you do not do the self-study well. It is usually older students who are willing to buckle down and get it done. Many in high school truly do need someone to be accountable to, in order, to actually sit down and study. Some kind of measurement needs to happen for many of you to even try. I have found when arriving and checking out what students have done to prepare for these tests that many simply open the books, do some questions here and there, maybe a section or two. But few have the discipline to sit and do the practice tests and actually correct the answers, etc.
So here we go….get some prep books! #1, I truly do not care which book you prefer to use, but any that actually contain full practice tests is what you need for this free most strategy driven class. So get an ACT or SAT practice test book. The NEW College Board book with more actual SAT tests has been released today, actually.
#2, let’s talk the major issue with Reading…TIME. So you need to set a goal for yourself. What do you want to have in terms of score improvement over the course of the summer? The higher the point increase, the more time you will need to work at this. READING is difficult, and it doesn’t come easily for most.
Further, the actual TIME it takes to do the section is critical as well. For the ACT, the Reading test is third after the one and only official sanctioned break that comes about 2.5 hours into the test. The section is only 35 minutes for 40 questions, and it has lengthy, dense passages, of which there are a total of four. The SAT Reading comes first in the test, and the section is 65 minutes long. It contains 5 passages, some are easy, medium, and difficult in terms of reading comprehension, but the difficult of the questions is consistent by passage. There are specific, general, and very difficult questions in each passage.
So here is the most important strategy you must understand and learn to capitalize in order to improve your score to its highest. YOU MUST DO ALL THE EASIER PASSAGES FIRST…and if you run out of time and have to guess on some, even an entire passage, you will have a higher score than trying to finish all and getting several wrong per passage!!
Just how do you break up the passages to master the easiest first? Well, for the ACT, the easiest to read and the one with the most direct questions comes last in the section. Natural Science is the easiest passage in the ACT Reading to read. And it has more direct, passage-based questions than any other. Then next is the Prose Fiction, which is first, UNLESS, it is 19th Century British English. Prose Fiction is a story and because it is, it has some entertainment value, which makes it easier to pay attention and read. The best passage to save to last is typically either Social Sciences or Humanities. Now, only through practice can you determine which of those two is always harder for you. But I will tell you this, if you SLOW DOWN and do the last, the first, and only one of the two remaining passages with complete accuracy, your score will be much higher than if you get wrong in every passage. Many people can ONLY get reading in the 30’s by skipping an entire passage and focusing only on three.
For the SAT, there are two passages that contain charts or graphs, usually. Sometimes the DUAL Passage might as well. But those two, often science and historical piece are usually the most straightforward to read and have more passage based questions that are easy. Reading the charts and graphs is simple. Those charts and graphs in those passages are why the SAT is only three sections and not four, as there is no need for a Science section. The Science Section on the ACT is just another reading section, but with lots of charts and graphs.
So on the SAT, do the two passages with the charts first. Then switch and do the DUAL Passage. Cut it into two passages. Do one at a time. Save the comparative questions on both passages until you have done all the single passage questions. Then for almost all you should save the first passage or the Fictional piece for last. MANY never actually get to the last passage at all!! And they are scoring above 650 in Reading and Writing. Many are, in fact, guessing on ALL 10 in the first section as they never get to it and going up at least 30-40 points by doing so. Amazing! Switch the way you do the reading passages and improve your score.
IT IS TRUE…for both tests…the MORE QUESTIONS YOU GET CORRECT, THE HIGHER YOUR SCORE!!!
So simplistically, it is about maximizing your time, reading thoroughly…..and slowing down to answer more questions correctly. Save what is naturally more difficult to last, and if you never make it, guessing on 10 SAT or 7 ACT questions and even getting them ALL Wrong will improve your score than getting 3 wrong per passage and guessing on 5 along the way.
So who is game to try?? I challenge you to do three reading sections…TIMED…and switch the order, slow down, and see how many wrong you have…then check your actual ACT or SAT from the spring or winter and see if you have more correct. You have to try this way for a couple of times to get the hang of it.
Next week, we will discuss the question types in Reading as what is EASY, MEDIUM, and DIFFICULT….there is way to maximize time even more by focusing on the EASY and MEDIUM while you read and saving the DIFFICULT until you are completely done reading the passage. ACCURACY has to come before speed.
ALSO IN THIS COURSE….WE NEVER, EVER DO NOT READ THE ENTIRE PASSAGE!! Reading all the text is, in fact, critical to changing your score for the better.