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Three things you should know about the ACT English Test:

  • The ACT is very strict about Redundancy - Never let the passage repeat itself. Now let's say it again: the same thing shouldn't be said more than once in a passage. This is the typical redundancy.

  • The ACT is very strict about Verbosity - The best way to write is the shortest way, as long as the short way doesn't violate the rules of writing mechanics (i.e. grammar or punctuation, etc) or contain vulgarities inappropriate to civilized discourse.

  • The ACT is very strict about Relevance - Ideas that are not directly and logically tied in with the purpose of the passage should be removed.
Tip 1 - If you don't know whether an idea is redundant, it probably is, so take it out. If you don't know whether a certain way to say things is verbose, it probably is, so take it out. If you don't know whether an idea is relevant, it probably isn't, so take it out. In other words: When in doubt, take it out.

Tip 2 - If you can't solve certain questions, or don't have time for the remaining questions, choose the shortest answer, because the shortest answer is frequently your best bet. Some questions contain the "OMIT" choice that is apparently the shortest one. As a matter of fact, "OMIT" has a higher correct rate than any other choices.

Tip 3 - Before you start working on the questions, you should take a few seconds skimming the paragraph to get a sense of how it's shaped and what it's about. When you have a general sense of the context, you'll find it easier to correct the underlined portions. You can do this either paragraph by paragraph, or passage by passage. Try both ways to find out which one works better for you.

Tip 4 - When you approach each question, ask yourself:
1. Does this belong here? - check redundancy,
    verbosity and relevance
2. Does this make sense? - check logic
3. Does this sound like proper English? - check
If you can answer yourself, you get the answer to the question. If you can't answer yourself, use Tip 1 and Tip 2 above.

Tip 5 - Pace Yourself. There are 75 questions to be answered in 45 minutes. Averagely, one question needs 36 seconds. The time is definitely not much. You should set your speed limit and keep moving. Don't spend too much time puzzling out certain questions that you lose the time to find and answer other ones. Keep track of time during the test. You should develop the habit of occasionally checking your progress through the test, so that you know when you are one-fourth or half of the way through the time allotted for a section, and when you have 5 minutes left.

Finally, remember that the ACT doesn't punish wrong answers. So don't leave anything blank, or you'll waste your points.

If you want to start practicing now, click here to login "ACT Practice" section. We suggest that you come back to this page and read the content again after you have spent 2 weeks of practicing. You will definitely have a better understanding about the strategies!