DOMINATE the ACT

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  • If you put 20 monkeys in a room to take the ACT, assuming they answered once per question and behaved themselves, on average they would get 20-25% of the questions correct. If you did the same with high school students in the room, the average is much lower.
  • If you put 20 monkeys in a room to take the ACT, assuming they answered once per question and behaved themselves, on average they would get 20-25% of the questions correct. If you did the same with high school students in the room, the average is much lower.
  • This is a technique you must have decided before you see a single test question.
  • DOMINATE the ACT

    1. 1. DOMINATEtheACT<br />ACT Jam Session 2011<br />
    2. 2. Secret #1: Time is your greatest enemy.<br />DOMINATEtheACT2011<br />
    3. 3. Secret #2: Guessing is not Guesswork<br />Monkeys take the ACT<br />DOMINATEtheACT2011<br />
    4. 4. Secret #2: Guessing is not Guesswork<br /> ACT provides answers that “look right” but are wrong. Monkeys do not know what “looks right” academically.<br /> Students eliminate answers by intuition yet correct answers are still excluded.<br />Here’s the $5.00 Challenge:<br />Only mark your “best guess” if you are willing to bet $5.00 on it.<br />Only eliminate choices from guessing if you are willing to bet $5.00 on it.<br />DOMINATEtheACT2011<br />
    5. 5. Secret #2: Guessing is not Guesswork<br />BTW, the answer is right in front of you!<br />DOMINATEtheACT2011<br />
    6. 6. Secret #2: Guessing is not Guesswork<br />How do you make your guess truly random?<br />Answer: Always pick the first answer choice <br />among those remaining.<br />DOMINATEtheACT2011<br />
    7. 7. Secret #2: Guessing is not Guesswork<br />Here’s a difficult math question:<br />What is the cosine of an angle in a right triangle that<br />is 3 meters on the adjacent side, 5 meters on the<br />hypotenuse, and 4 meters on the opposite side?<br />0.6<br />0.75<br />0.8<br />1<br />1.25<br />Student is pretty sure that cosine is opposite over hypotenuse, but wouldn’t bet $5 on it. He knows that cosine is “something” over hypotenuse, and since the hypotenuse is the largest number, he is willing to bet $5 on A and E not being correct. Now that he’s left with A, B, and C, because it is the first MONKEY CHOICE remaining. His chance of being right is now 33%.<br />DOMINATEtheACT2011<br />
    8. 8. Secret #3: Practice Smarter, Not Harder<br />Find a good source for practice tests.<br />Try a test with no time constraints.<br />Try the same test again with time constraints.<br />Focus on the areas in which you need the most practice.<br />DOMINATEtheACT2011<br />
    9. 9. Secret #4: Make ACT work for you.<br />If you take the ACT three times, you will get three different scores:<br /><ul><li>How you feel that day
    10. 10. Your level of preparedness
    11. 11. Some tests will be easier for you than others.</li></ul>Take the test at least twice and be sure that your colleges receive the higher scores.<br />DOMINATEtheACT2011<br />
    12. 12. Secret #5: Test yourself.<br />You should only spend as much of your time preparing as is necessary to receive the score you want.<br />Benchmark your abilities by retaking practice tests and seeing how much you have improved.<br />When you take the official test, remain confident and remember how well you did on the practice tests.<br />DOMINATEtheACT2011<br />
    13. 13. Now that you have the big strategies, let’s get to some small test-taking tips before we hit the individual sections.<br />(You really should write these down.)<br />Wear layered clothing.<br />Dress for Success!<br />Get a good night’s sleep!<br />Bring a set of earplugs.<br />Eat a well-balanced meal.<br />Breathe 10x when you have anxiety.<br />Do NOT read the directions.<br />Take the questions at face value.<br />Peppermints!<br />Use a regular #2 pencil.<br />Maintain a positive attitude.<br />Caffeine during break!<br />Circle the correct answer.<br />Write on your test!<br />Bring a light snack.<br />Cross out the wrong answer.<br />Use one-page answering technique.<br />Milk the question.<br />Make answer predictions.<br />ANSWER the QUESTION.<br />Don’t get caught up in terminology.<br />DOMINATEtheACT2011<br />
    14. 14. Hedge Phrases: likely, may, can, willoften, sometimes, often, almost, mostly, usually, generally, rarely, sometimes. These are to cover every possibility. Avoid answer choices that have: exactly, always, never, etc.<br />Switchback Words: shifts in thought…but, although, however, on the other hand, nevertheless, eventhough, while, in spiteof, despite, regardless of.<br />Answer choice families: when two or more are direct opposites or parallels, one of them is usually the correct answer. The odd looking answer choice is usually wrong.<br />DOMINATEtheACT2011<br />
    15. 15. ENGLISH<br />DOMINATEtheACT2011<br />
    16. 16. ENGLISH<br />Simplicity is bliss. ACT values concise writing—the longest answer is not the right one.<br />Parallelism. Clues to the best answer are given in the text. The correct answer will always be parallel in grammar type, punctuation, format, and tense as the rest of the sentence.<br />Grammar Type. If a series of nouns is given, then make sure your choice is a noun. If those nouns are plural, then your choice is plural.<br />Punctuation. If a section of text has an opening dash, parenthesis, or comma at the beginning of a phrase, then there should be a matching one at the end.<br />Tense. Items in a series will also have the same tense.<br />Contractions. Break down contractions. Don’t = Do not. Read them as two separate words.<br />Listen to your mental voice. Read out loud, but in your head.<br />DOMINATEtheACT2011<br />
    17. 17. ENGLISH<br />it’s = It is<br />its = ownership<br />its’ = does not exist<br />DOMINATEtheACT2011<br />
    18. 18. ENGLISH<br />they‘re = they are<br />their = ownership<br />there = place<br />DOMINATEtheACT2011<br />
    19. 19. ENGLISH<br />who’s = who is<br />whose = all other cases<br />DOMINATEtheACT2011<br />
    20. 20. ENGLISH<br />; equals .<br />Watch out for answer choices <br />that just make superficial changes.<br />DOMINATEtheACT2011<br />
    21. 21. ENGLISH<br />: is for lists<br />Use a colon to introduce lists. <br />DOMINATEtheACT2011<br />
    22. 22. ENGLISH<br />OMIT the underlined portion<br />OMIT means to eliminate.<br />90% of the time, this is the correct answer.<br />DOMINATEtheACT2011<br />
    23. 23. MATH<br />DOMINATEtheACT2011<br />
    24. 24. MATH<br />Answer choices are listed from smallest (A) to largest (E).<br />DOMINATEtheACT2011<br />
    25. 25. MATH<br />Diagrams are drawn nearly to scale, so use the pencil trick if you need help.<br />DOMINATEtheACT2011<br />
    26. 26. MATH<br />Write all over your book and do not erase—just cross off and move on.<br />DOMINATEtheACT2011<br />
    27. 27. MATH<br />Watch out for answers that stop at an earlier step.<br />DOMINATEtheACT2011<br />
    28. 28. MATH<br />“Not enough information provided” is <br />never the answer.<br />DOMINATEtheACT2011<br />
    29. 29. MATH<br />If you are terrible at fractions, convert them to decimals and use your calculator.<br />DOMINATEtheACT2011<br />
    30. 30. MATH<br />Know your calculator well and make sure it has basic functions, including the square root.<br />DOMINATEtheACT2011<br />
    31. 31. MATH<br />ACT frequently tests your ability to apply math concepts from very <br />different math subjects <br />in one problem.<br />DOMINATEtheACT2011<br />
    32. 32. MATH<br />Watch out for answer choices that look vastly different <br />than the others. Watch for groupings that are the same if you need to narrow your choices down.<br />DOMINATEtheACT2011<br />
    33. 33. READING<br />DOMINATEtheACT2011<br />
    34. 34. READING<br />Four reading selections with ten questions each: humanities, social studies, natural sciences, and fiction.<br />DOMINATEtheACT2011<br />
    35. 35. READING<br />When looking for information about zebras in the encyclopedia, would you begin by reading about aardvarks?<br />DOMINATEtheACT2011<br />
    36. 36. READING<br />Treat every reading selection as an encyclopedia. Do not try to memorize the information in the passage.<br />DOMINATEtheACT2011<br />
    37. 37. READING<br />In all passages except fiction, read only the first sentence of each paragraph and <br />make a small note of the paragraph topic.<br />DOMINATEtheACT2011<br />
    38. 38. READING<br />Read the question and then read the paragraph that is referenced. Mark your best answer using the same elimination techniques we have discussed.<br />DOMINATEtheACT2011<br />
    39. 39. READING<br />Read the fiction passage from beginning to end and then answer the questions.<br />DOMINATEtheACT2011<br />
    40. 40. SCIENCE<br />DOMINATEtheACT2011<br />
    41. 41. SCIENCE<br />Use the exact same strategy as with the reading section. Your scores for these two sections should be <br />nearly identical.<br />DOMINATEtheACT2011<br />
    42. 42. SCIENCE<br />Don’t get caught up in words that you don’t understand. Substitute a different word when necessary.<br />DOMINATEtheACT2011<br />
    43. 43. SCIENCE<br />All of the information you need is in front of you. ACT is only testing your reading skills for technical reading and disguising it with science.<br />DOMINATEtheACT2011<br />
    44. 44. YOU CAN DOMINATE <br />THE ACT.<br />70% STRATEGY<br />30% CONTENT<br />DOMINATEtheACT2011<br />

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