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How Often Is NO CHANGE the Right Answer on ACT English?

Posted by Justin Berkman | Jul 1, 2015 1:00:00 PM

ACT English

 

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On the ACT English section, in the majority of questions, the first answer choice is “NO CHANGE." The “NO CHANGE” answer choice indicates that the underlined word or phrase is correct. Sometimes, students are hesitant to select “NO CHANGE” because they think that there should be an error.

In this article, I’ll explore the frequency of correct “NO CHANGE” answers to give you an idea of how often the “NO CHANGE” answer will be the right one. Furthermore, I’ll let you know how to use this information.

For this article, I analyzed the answers from four published official ACT tests.

 

Basic ACT English Format

There are 75 total questions on the ACT English section, each of which has four answer choices. If the correct answers are distributed evenly among the answer choices, “NO CHANGE” should be right 25% of the time it appears as an option. 

Let's look at the answers from the four different tests I used.

 

Test-by-Test Breakdown of "NO CHANGE" Frequency

 

Test #1

# of questions w/ "NO CHANGE" option # of correct "NO CHANGE" answers % of "NO CHANGE" answers correct
56 21 37.5%

 

Test #2

# of questions w/ "NO CHANGE" option # of correct "NO CHANGE" answers % of "NO CHANGE" answers correct
64 17 26.6%

 

Test #3

# of questions w/ "NO CHANGE" option # of correct "NO CHANGE" answers % of "NO CHANGE" answers correct
50 17 34

 

Test #4

# of questions w/ "NO CHANGE" option # of correct "NO CHANGE" answers % of "NO CHANGE" answers correct
59 17 28.8%

 

Frequency of NO CHANGE on All Tests

Test # Frequency of "NO CHANGE" correct % of "NO CHANGE"
1 21 37.5
2 17 26.6
3 17 34
4 17 28.8

  

Analysis: Each test had a percentage of “NO CHANGE” answers that was higher than expected. The % of NO CHANGE answers ranged from 26.6% to 37.5%.

So how can knowing this information benefit you when you take the ACT?

 

How Should You Use This Information?

Only use this as a rough guide. The % of “NO CHANGE” answers varies from test to test. Keep in mind that in ACT English the simplest answer is often the best answer. NO CHANGE may be correct more often than expected because the incorrect answers make unnecessary additions to the underlined phrase.

“NO CHANGE” should always be correct between around 25 and 40 percent of the time. If the percentage of your “NO CHANGE” answers is not in this range, you have most likely made mistakes and need to review the questions you’re unsure about more closely.

Surprisingly, the percentage of No Change is at least 1/4 and often more. So guessing randomly actually is NOT necessarily the best thing to do - when in doubt, try guessing NO CHANGE as it's more likely to be correct!

 

What's Next?

As I previously mentioned, in ACT English, the most concise answer is usually the best answer. Learn more about this rule in my article on wordiness on the ACT. If you want a more general guide, read about all the grammar rules covered on the ACT.

For those of you primarily studying for the ACT online, I highly recommend checking out this post on the best ACT prep websites.

 

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Justin Berkman
About the Author

Justin has extensive experience teaching SAT prep and guiding high school students through the college admissions and selection process. He is firmly committed to improving equity in education and helping students to reach their educational goals. Justin received an athletic scholarship for gymnastics at Stanford University and graduated with a BA in American Studies.



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