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6 Tips to Ace the ACT English Section

The ACT is hard, and sometimes our scores in one area (like math) can drag down our other areas, (like science, reading, and English). Sometimes, the solution is not to raise the lowest score, but to raise the scores of your highest area and automatically your overall score goes up. So, here are 6 tips to help you ace the ACT English Section.

  1. Pay Attention to Sentence Structure

25% of the Engish section is sentence structure, so make sure to pay attention to the combinations of independent clauses, dependent clauses, and conjunctions. The ACT tends to like these combinations:

Independent, Independent

Independent Independent

Dependent Clause

Independent, conjunction Independent

Dependent, Independent

  1. Eliminate Wordy Expressions and Avoid Redundancy

The ACT doesn’t like wordy expressions because ACT-style writing is very straight to the point, so the answer choices might have some options with unnecessary adjectives and adverbs which are often best to ignore. If you are ever unsure about which choice to pick, go with the most concise one. Also, sometimes the answer choices will have 2 synonyms next to each other. (Ex. tons of multiple times) In this case, you would pick the answer choice that only uses “tons of” or “multiple” because these two phrases mean the same thing and if it is not removed the sentence would be repeating itself.

  1. Pick the Exact Right Word

Try to pick a word that fits the situation exactly. If the question asks, “Which sentence describes how extreme the weather is?”, pick the answer that says it was the hottest day outside instead of the answer that says it was a nice day outside.

  1. Make subjects and verbs agree

If the subject of your sentence is plural, but the predicate of your sentence is singular(or vice versa), make sure that they are fixed to fit the sentence’s place in the writing and that it flows with the rest of the writing.

  1. Sound out contractions

Something that often trips students up is contractions, specifically it’s and its. So, when you come across a question like this, sound out the contraction in your head. So, ask yourself if “its” or “it is” fits the statement better.

  1. Comma = Pause

A lot of us often fall victim to commas. It often makes sense in our heads to pause at certain situations, so try saying pause inside your head. For example, if the sentence is, “The big, cow jumped, over the bright, yellow moon”, The pauses after “big” and after “jumped” do not help the flow of the sentence, but the comma after bright does make sense because it separates the 2 adjectives describing moon.

I hoped this helped you out, have a great ACT.

by Blair Thomas

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