SAT / ACT Prep Online Guides and Tips

163 ACT Vocab Words You Must Know

Many students are aware that you need a good vocabulary to do well on the ACT, but they're often not sure just how their vocabulary will be tested. Gone are the days where you needed to learn the definitions of dozens of obscure words, but a good vocabulary is still key to excelling on the ACT. To help you out, we've compiled a list of 163 key ACT vocabulary words to know. We also explain how vocab is tested on the ACT, the types of questions you'll see, and the best way to study ACT vocab words.

Read More


What's Actually Tested on the ACT Reading Section? Skills You Need

Just like the ACT has four different sections, the ACT Reading section has four different types of passages for you to read. This article breaks down exactly what's on this section of the ACT so you can plan your best approach.

First, let's consider how the ACT Reading section is formatted.

Read More


The Best ACT Reading Practice Tests and Questions

Doing well on the ACT Reading section requires a fair amount of practice, especially if you're not used to the format and timing of the test. In order to get the most out of your study time, you need to be using the highest quality practice materials available to you.

In this article, I'll go through some of the best resources for ACT Reading practice tests and tell you why you should use them!

Read More


The Ultimate Prep Guide to ACT Reading: Strategies, Tips, and Practice

This is the best study guide to ACT Reading out there.

No kidding, no exaggerating, and no doubt about it. We've read many ACT prep books, studied ACT, Inc’s resources, and taken the best aspects of each to combine into this magnificent patchwork quilt of a guide. Each question type is covered in detail, organized not by how the questions are asked, but by the essential underlying skills the questions are testing. We cover the best ACT reading tips and strategies and how to get the most out of your ACT Reading practice and prep.

Looking for a comprehensive guide to ACT Reading and how to improve your ACT Reading score? Want to master the important concepts, grapple with practice questions from ACTual (I will probably never stop doing this) ACT Reading tests, and make sure you're taking the most away from questions you miss? This is the ACT study guide that will help you improve your ACT Reading score dramatically by focusing on all those areas (and more!).

I've divided this guide into three sections, based on level of information. We'll start with understanding the ACT Reading section at a high level, move on to the ACT reading test and the different question types therein (divided by the underlying skills that are tested), and end with study plans and how to maximize your study time for score improvement.

I suggest reading all of the articles below in order to start off, then using this guide as a reference page to come back to as you progress in your test prep.

Read More


How to Stop Running Out of Time on ACT Reading

Running out of time on any test is extremely frustrating. For me, it’s always a fight between my anxiety arising from racing the clock and the feeling of "if only I had more time, I could do better!" (spoiler: no matter which feeling wins, I lose). It’s even worse on tests like the SAT and ACT because they’re so lengthy: if you run out of time on a section, you don't get the relief of "Well, at least I'm done with the test" because you have to move right on to the next section.

Since you can’t actually stretch out time (probably?) and, except under special circumstances, can’t get extra time, you'll need another solution to help you avoid running out of time on the ACT. So what strategies can you use? I’ll discuss the top misconception students have about running out of time on the ACT Reading section and give you strategies to avoid running out of time.

Read More


How to Attack Paired Passages in ACT Reading

Paired passages on the ACT have been around since 2013, and they can make the Reading section seem a lot more difficult than it really is. After all, you're required to answer multiple questions to two whole reading passages! But there are ways to do this effectively.

How should you go about attacking ACT Reading paired passages? Read on for our best strategies.

Read More


ACT Reading vs SAT Reading: Which Is Easier?

Which is the harder section, ACT Reading or SAT Reading? We will break down the differences between SAT and ACT Reading to help you decide which section is harder for you. You might be surprised which one is easier!

Read More


How Science/Math People Can Do Well on SAT/ACT Reading

The reading sections of the SAT and ACT can be intimidating at first glance if you’re more inclined towards math and science than the humanities. All those passages! The horror!

Fear not, my number-loving friend. The reading sections of these tests are actually more logic and evidence-based than you might expect. In some cases, your science and math skills can even help you find the correct answers.

This article details three strategies for approaching SAT and ACT Reading if you consider yourself a more math and science-oriented student.

Read More


ACT Vocabulary | Words You Must Know

Many students are confused about ACT vocabulary and what types of words they need to know. Is ACT vocab similar to SAT vocab? What's the best way to study ACT vocabulary?

In this article, we break down exactly how the ACT tests vocabulary, go over the words it tests most often, and give you tips on how to approach vocabulary on the Reading and English sections. As a bonus, we also offer a list of our top 15 ACT words and a free study sheet of our top 150 ACT words!

Read More


Vocab In Context Questions and Strategies for ACT Reading

What exactly are vocab in context questions, and what are the best ways to approach answering them? In this article, I'll start by going over the basics of what vocab in context questions are, then segue into an in-depth discussion of each of the two types (complete with examples). Finally, I'll wrap it up by suggesting strategies to use when tackling these types of questions.

Read More


How to Improve Your ACT Reading Score: 8 Expert Tips

Are you struggling with ACT Reading scores between 14 and 24? You're not alone—hundreds of thousands of students are scoring in this range. But many don't know the best ways to break out of this score range and score 26 or higher.

Here, we'll discuss how to improve your ACT Reading score effectively, and why it's so important to do so. Unlike other fluffy articles out there, I'm focusing on actionable strategies. Put these eight strategies to work, and I'm confident you'll be able to improve your ACT score.

Read More


How to Get 36 on ACT Reading: 11 Strategies from a Perfect Scorer

Are you scoring in the 26–34 range on ACT Critical Reading? Do you want to raise that score as high as possible—to a perfect 36?

Getting to a 36 ACT Reading score isn't easy. It'll require perfection. But with hard work and my strategies below, you'll be able to do it. I've consistently scored 36 on Reading on my real ACTs, and I know what it takes. Follow my advice, and you'll get a perfect score—or get very close.

Read More


How to Answer ACT Reading Questions: 5-Step Guide

The ACT Reading section is challenging for many students because of the intense focus required to answer questions accurately in such a short time frame. Quickly getting to the root of each question is tough, but it's definitely a skill that you can learn with practice. This guide will present an example-driven step-by-step process for interpreting ACT Reading questions and give you the inside scoop on some of the sneakiest tricks the Reading section has up its sleeve. 

Read More


Why ACT Reading Paired Passages Are So Hard

Paired passages on the ACT are a relatively new phenomenon, first announced by ACT, Inc in spring of 2013. Just as the changes to the new SAT have made it resemble the ACT, so have some of the changes to the ACT made it more like the SAT.

What are paired passages, why are they suddenly on the ACT, and what’s the best way to prep for them? Read on to find out.

Read More


Function and Development Questions on ACT Reading

Function questions (also sometimes known as “meaning in context” questions) make up approximately 20% of all ACT Reading questions (based on my survey of four publicly available ACTs). The ACT Reading will also occasionally have "development" questions, which are sort of like larger-scale versions of function questions (they ask about the structure of the passage or passages).

Both function and development questions require you to judge the effect of a phrase in a certain place (as opposed to little picture and vocab in context questions, which are just concerned with meaning). So how do you get asked function questions on the ACT, and what strategies can you use to answer them? Keep on reading to find out!

Read More


Ask a Question Below

Have any questions about this article or other topics? Ask below and we'll reply!