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Acing the ACT Reading Test

Acing the ACT Reading Test

Acing the ACT Reading Test

The ACT reading test has 40 questions that you get 35 minutes to answer. Approximately 60% of those questions ask you to identify key ideas and details while another 30% asks you about words and the structure of the passage. The remaining 10% tests if you can separate facts from opinions. It is vital that you prepare to move quickly through the exam because the examination intermixes hard and easy questions. Here are some question types that will be on the ACT reading test that you will learn to handle when you sign up for ACT tutoring in Orlando.

Big Picture Questions

These questions will ask you to identify the main idea behind a passage, a paragraph, or a section of the text. The ACT will ask this question in several different ways, including which of these ideas best expresses the author’s main purpose, the primary focus of lines X to Y is, the main theme of the passage is, or the main idea of the X paragraph is. The second type of big-picture questions that you will encounter is perspective questions. Many refer to these as point-of-view questions. In order to answer these questions correctly, think about why the author is writing the passage.

Little Picture Questions

In order to answer the little picture questions on the ACT, you will need to be familiar with four types of questions. The first type asks you to locate and paraphrase details found in the passage. The second type asks you to restate the sequence of events while the third type asks you to make comparisons. You must identify cause-and-effect relationships to answer the final type.

Vocabulary in Context

These questions typically take two forms. You will be asked to identify the meaning of a word based on its use in a designated line.  Be careful on these because the test writers will try to trick you into quickly choosing a word that has the same meaning. Instead, take the time to find the word in the original context, and you will discover that it does not fit there. The second type of question asks you to identify a word that sums up several words in the passage. One of the easiest ways to solve these problems is to try to place the answer word in the text and see if the text still has the same meaning.


In order to score well on the ACT, you need to be able to answer inference questions. Generally, these questions are one of three different types. The first type asks you to fill in paraphrased missing information. The second type asks you to speculate about what an author meant when he wrote something, and the final type asks the test taker to identify feelings of a character in the passage.

While you now have a deeper appreciation of what is on the ACT reading test, there are specific techniques that you can use to raise your score. Get ACT tutoring in Orlando from Celebration Learning and Academic Services to help you boost your score.