The Most Important Skill to Develop for the ACT

More than anything else, your reading ability is the key to doing well on the ACT. Think about it:

1) The English test consists of five reading passages
2) The Math test contains a large percentage of word problems that require good reading comprehension to figure out what they mean and what they’re asking for
3) The Reading test consists of four college level reading passages
4) And the Science test consists of seven passages with very unfamiliar content


The Best Thing to Do to Prepare for the ACT

Because reading is such a large part of the ACT, we believe that the single best thing you can do to get a higher score on the ACT is to regularly read college level, non-fiction articles and books for at least an hour a day. Now, you might be thinking, “I don’t have time to read that much!”

Finding Time to Read

But if you really think about it, the issue is not that we don’t have the time to read—it’s that we don’t make the time to read. Most people choose instead to fill up their time with things like movies, TV shows, Facebook, Twitter, and other activities. Now, we don’t need to give these things up, but we can definitely cut back on them to make room for more reading in our lives.

For the rest of this post, we’re going to talk about why it’s completely worth it to give up an hour a day to read, as well as why you should be reading college level nonfiction articles and books to prepare for the ACT.

Why College Level Reading?

So first, why is it important to read college level articles and books? Two reasons: Reason Number 1) The passages you will see on the ACT are college level readings. Basically, if you can’t read difficult college-level passages at a good pace, you aren’t going to do well on the ACT because you’ll run out of time. Regularly reading college level articles and books will gradually develop your ability to read college level texts with better speed and comprehension. In our next session, we’re going to talk about a simple speed reading trick that can help you read faster.

And Reason Number 2) Being able to read college level texts is important both for college and for getting a job. The reading that you do won’t just help you do better on the ACT. It’ll also help you succeed in college and be more qualified for better jobs. In college, there is a lot of reading to do, so the reading you do now will help make college a lot easier when you get there. Also, because of how quickly everything is changing in this world, in order to keep up with it all and be competitive in the workplace, you need to constantly be reading to stay updated. So again, the reading that you do now will also prepare you to be more successful in the job market.


Why Nonfiction?

Next, why is it important to read nonfiction? For basically the same two reasons: Reason Number 1) Most of the reading you will see on the ACT will be nonfiction. 3 out of the 4 passages on the ACT Reading test are nonfiction, and all 7 of the Science test passages are nonfiction. The more familiar and comfortable you are with reading nonfiction texts, the less foreign and intimidating the ACT passages will be to you.

One of the major problems that students face with the ACT is that the passages on the ACT are basically unenjoyable and uninteresting passages. Because most students only read fiction (if they read at all), there is a huge barrier to reading the kinds of boring, nonfiction passages that show up on the ACT. To overcome this barrier, you need to make it a habit to regularly read nonfiction articles and books about topics that are currently unfamiliar to you.

Final Thoughts

To conclude this post, we just want to say that the only way to spend an hour a day reading challenging and unfamiliar articles and books is if you understand that doing this is worth the time and effort. And it most certainly is—there is nothing better you can do for your future, for college and for future jobs, than working to develop your reading ability now, because reading is just so central to pretty much everything in life.

But the only person who can motivate you is you. You need to decide that spending this amount of time reading is worth the investment.

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