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Score 28, 30, 32 or 34 points on your ACT English test? Wouldn't that be great? I can hear you thinking, "How am I going to do that?" Obviously you're going to have to start with some basic intelligence about English Usage/Mechanics and Rhetorical Skills along with some test strategies in the ACT English Test area.

You probably have more knowledge in the English subject area than you give yourself credit for. So, in addition to applying your own natural capabilities, here are strategies to improve your ACT English test score, and maybe even earn that Top Score of 36.


Read the 5 essays and answer the questions quickly; 75 questions must be answered in 45 minutes; that allows 36 seconds per question. Put another way, you have 45 minutes to read 5 essays and answer their questions, or at most 9 minutes for each essay and its questions.


• You may want to quickly skim an essay and its questions before you start to answer the questions, just to get a feel for the writing style and types of questions

• Select the answer which considers the context of the question in relation to the writing style of the essay. Be sure and read a sentence or two beyond the sentence containing the portion being questioned.

•Try to get an understanding of what the writer is trying to say.

• Eliminate answer choices that are clearly wrong or ridiculous; Look for degrees of correctness as several answers may appear to be correct.

• Avoid making new mistakes when selecting answers to correct mistakes in an essay; do not be too quick to judge. A comma or apostrophe can change the meaning and make a real difference.

• Pay attention to the wording of each question. Watch out for absolutes in the answer choices (for example; Always, Never). Some questions will ask you to choose the alternative for the underlined portions that is NOT acceptable or LEAST acceptable, rather than the best choice.

• Choose the BEST answer based on the question and the essay. Reread the sentence and substitute each answer choice and decide which is best. Reread your selected answer. If the underlined portion is already correct, then select the NO CHANGE answer.

• Some questions ask about a section of the entire essay. They are identified by a question number contained in a box after the relevant section. At the end of an essay, you may find questions which ask about the essay as a whole with instructions in a box telling you this.

• Use care in 2 part questions such as those with a yes or no answer, followed by a supporting reason for the answer. You have to decide which option is best, and then which reason best supports that option and most accurately reflects the essay.

• Awareness of the type of question helps, but the most important thing is for you to focus on exactly what the question asks and then select the best answer.

• With all your preparation, you will score better than you would have before the preparation. Maybe even that coveted 36. And, even if you don't like your score, you can take the test again and keep the best score.

Good luck and here's to you scoring your best on the ACT English Test.

Joan Geyer Kaliher is a Certified Illinois Teacher and has been tutoring students in the Naperville area for 29 years.

"We believe in helping your son and daughter with ACT EnglishTest strategies to accomplish their goals in the ACT Test. We approach each student by customizing and individualizing ACT subject tutoring in the areas of weakness and review the areas of strength. Included are ACT PREP strategies for all subject reviews. Naperville Tutoring's ACT Test PREP strategies have been prepared by review of the Real ACT PREP Guide & the Barron's ACT Math & Science and English, Reading & Writing Workbooks

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