Author: Tonianne B.
During ACT or SAT Prep, my students are always concerned about the reading section: will they get it done in time? For ACT students in particular, it’s a daunting prospect. ACT students have to read four passages and answer ten questions per passage in thirty-five minutes. That’s 8 minutes and 45 seconds per passage and its corresponding questions. If the student is a not an avid reader (and even if she is), that’s a seemingly superhuman feat.
But it can be done.
And while the SAT reading section is a bit kinder on time (5 passages, 52 questions, and 65 minutes), the strategies used to cut down on time for the ACT reading section are just as applicable for the SAT reading section.
The more you practice, the more natural the approaches will feel. Plus, additional practice builds confidence in the student, which cuts down on time consuming anxiety on test day.
There are different strategies I go through with students in depth in sessions, but they take time and practice. If the test is in a couple of weeks, and you’re just starting now, then try the line strategy. It’s not as precise as something like the active reading method, but the latter method requires quite a bit of practice. The line method can be learned and mastered fairly easily in a couple of weeks (or even a week if you work on it every day).
They key to this method is confidence. You’re probably going to be nervous about not reading the passage, which might make you go back and forth on an answer. This defeats the purpose of the entire method: cutting down on time. This is why it’s so important to practice this strategy consistently in the one or two weeks leading up to the test. The more you practice, the more confident you will be.
This isn’t the only strategy available to students, but it is one of the fastest. Just remember to stay calm and trust in your answers.