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About the ACT

The ACT is a 3-hour long exam (2 hrs 55 min to be precise) taken by high school students (typically juniors and seniors) as part of the college admissions process. It is offered throughout the year and can be taken on multiple occasions. The test consists of four separately scored sections: English, Math, Reading, and Science.
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Each of the four sections is scored from 1-36 based on the number correct. Those four scores are then averaged to get your ACT Composite score, which is also from 1-36:
Composite =

Section Breakdown

The ACT consists of the following four sections plus an optional writing section:
This is a 45 minute section with 75 questions. The format is four-choice multiple choice. There are a total of 5 passages with 15 questions per passage. The student becomes the "editor" of each passage. The goal is to improve the grammar and expression of ideas through a variety of question types. The passages are surprisingly interesting and do not require in-depth comprehension. I like to call this the “feel-good” ACT section. The pacing is manageable and the grammar is not that bad - especially after you learn all those pesky punctuation rules!
This is a 60 minute section with 60 questions. Calculators are allowed in this section. The format is five-choice multiple choice. Content includes everything up to and including precalculus. Unlike that of the other three sections, the difficulty gradually increases as you advance through the section.
This is a 35 minute section with 40 questions. The format is four-choice multiple choice. There are a total of 4 passages, 10 questions per passage. The genres used for the reading passages are predictable and ordered as follows: (1) literary narrative, (2) social science, (3) humanities, and (4) natural science. The passages are not inherently difficult, but the timing on this section (less than one minute per question, plus reading the passage!) is what makes it challenging.
This is a 35 minute section with 40 questions. Calculators are NOT allowed in this section. The format is four-choice multiple choice. There are a total of 6 passages with 5-7 questions per passage. This is not a direct test of your science knowledge, but more a test of how well you can process a lot of technical information displayed in the form of graphs, tables, and charts. There is always some background information to help you understand the gist of each experiment. This is typically the “wildcard” section: it’s unique to the ACT and it can either help your score or hurt it.
Writing - Optional
This section is optional. If you decide to take it, you’ll get 40 minutes to respond to a “prompt” which deals with topics that most high school teenagers can relate to: cell phones and other technological gadgets, school subjects, family and friends, societal issues, and so on. You are given three “perspectives” that each take a particular position on the question asked in the prompt. In your essay, you must form your own unique perspective and show how it relates to each of the three perspectives offered. Also, the writing has no effect on your composite score. It is scored separately on scale from 2-12.
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The Cornerstone Approach

The video above is just a small sample of the many strategies that can be used to attack even the hardest ACT questions. And these strategies are extremely effective! But strategies can only get you so far. That’s why I balance the lessons with just the right blend of strategies, test-taking techniques, and content. Content is especially important on the English and Math sections since most students miss many straightforward questions due to forgetting a simple grammatical rule or a basic math formula.

The ACT lessons are always fine-tuned to address YOUR specific needs - no one else’s! At the outset of the program, I’ll already have done a thorough analysis of your previous ACT score report, or an intake diagnostic ACT at our tutoring center. Based on that analysis, I’ll know what specific areas we need to focus on so that we can maximize your score and not waste time reviewing stuff you already know!

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