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What you need to know to make quick points on the ACT

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  1. What you need to know to make quick points on the ACT Six Skills to improve your English score by 10 points. Mr. Dan McDonell College Boards Review

  2. Why This Matters The five strategies in this presentation represent 43 questions on the ACT exam 0861D (Canning Tomatoes) In a typical test administration, students will get 50% of those correct. Had students gotten all of them correct, their scores would have increased 21 raw points or 10 scaled points. This alone would result in an overall composite score increase of 2.5 points.

  3. Strategy 1-Concision There are between 8-12 concision questions on any exam. ACT believes good writing is tight and direct. Students too often think that adding words makes their writing appear smarter. They need to understand KISS- Keep It Simple. You can spot them by either the progressively shorter or longer answer choices in which words are added or deleted.

  4. KISSKeep It Simple, Stupid ACT believes that good writing is clear and to the point. A good writer does not use more words when he or she can use fewer. Therefore, shorter is usually better. In fact, whenever the choice is OMIT or DELETE the underlined portion in questions which are obviously dealing with concision, you should be prejudiced towards that answer until you can prove otherwise. Begin with the shortest answer in concision questions. If you cannot find a reason not to select it, then you should opt for it. A warning though, this only holds for concision questions, and then, not all of the time.

  5. Question 18-Obviously synonymous within a sentence (CRS III-2-a) The old British practice of planting yews in cemeteries did nothing in changing or altering that reputation…. F. No Change G. to alter that acquired H. in the way of changing that J. to alter that

  6. Question 18-Obviously synonymous within a sentence (CRS III-2-a) The old British practice of planting yews in cemeteries did nothing in changing or altering that reputation…. F. No Change G. to alter that acquired H. in the way of changing that J. to alter that

  7. Tip-Look Throughout the SentenceQuestion 67-Redundant in Terms of LogicCRS III-4-a I wasn’t prepared for the impact. A. No Change B. ready for the unexpected impact C. prepared, regarding the impact, for what happened D. expecting the impact, which I didn’t see coming

  8. Tip-Look Throughout the SentenceQuestion 67-Redundant in Terms of LogicCRS III-4-a I wasn’t prepared for the impact. A. No Change B. ready for the unexpected impact C. prepared, regarding the impact, for what happened D. expecting the impact, which I didn’t see coming

  9. Tip-Look Throughout the SentenceQuestion 37-Redundant in Terms of LogicCRS III-4-a Voters elected the candidate that Dr. Herrick supported, choosing that person to be mayor. A.No Change B. supported and picked that person to become mayor C. supported as their choice for mayor D. supported

  10. Tip-Look Throughout the SentenceQuestion 37-Redundant in Terms of LogicCRS III-4-a Voters elected the candidate that Dr. Herrick supported, choosing that person to be mayor. A.No Change B. supported and picked that person to become mayor C. supported as their choice for mayor D. supported

  11. Tip-Don’t Add Unnecessary WordsQuestion 58Vague and Confusing WritingCRS III-5-b This undertaking wasn’t their dream but perhaps their dream would lead to it. F. No Change G. they would lead to that. H. would lead it to that. J. would lead to it.

  12. Tip-Don’t Add Unnecessary WordsQuestion 58Vague and Confusing WritingCRS III-5-b This undertaking wasn’t their dream but perhaps their dream would lead to it. F. No Change G. they would lead to that. H. would lead it to that. J. would lead to it.

  13. Remember the Author’s Voice Question 53Appropriate Word or LanguageCRS III-4-c He knew that he and Maya would have to apply their energies to the activity of labor for the money needed to sign a lease. A. No Change B. employ themselves vigorously to the task at hand C. work a long time D. accomplish it

  14. Remember the Author’s Voice Question 53Appropriate Word or LanguageCRS III-4-c He knew that he and Maya would have to apply their energies to the activity of labor for the money needed to sign a lease. A. No Change B. employ themselves vigorously to the task at hand C. work a long time D. accomplish it Ask-”Would you actually say that?”

  15. Strategy 2-Personal Possessive Pronouns Know the difference between it’s (= it is, a contraction) its (the possessive pronoun) and its’(which does not appear in English, but which ACT offers as a choice with maddening regularity in order to confuse students. Think his, her, and its- none of these take apostrophes.This question appears usually three times on the exam.

  16. Question 10-Apostrophe Use/Personal PronounCRS V-5-a Sometimes the only sound…would be the fan, rotating on its’ squeaky hinge,…… F. No Change G.it’s squeakier H. its squeaky J. it’s squeaky

  17. Question 10-Apostrophe Use/Personal PronounCRS V-5-a Sometimes the only sound…would be the fan, rotating on its’ squeaky hinge,…… F. No Change G.it’s squeakier H. its squeaky J. it’s squeaky

  18. Question 47Apostrophe Use/Personal PronounCRS V-5-a For my friends Tran and Maya Nguyen, the distance between Vietnam and California is more than it’s measure in miles. A. No Change B.its’ C. its D. his

  19. Question 47Apostrophe Use/Personal PronounCRS V-5-a For my friends Tran and Maya Nguyen, the distance between Vietnam and California is more than it’s measure in miles. A. No Change B.its’ C. its D. his

  20. Strategy 3- Learn the Possessive Forms Since ACT can have as many as three or four possessive questions on the exam, it helps to understand the possessive form of a noun.

  21. Question 28Apostrophe with Possessive NounCRS VI-4-c To save the trees and still provide for the patient’s needs,…. F. No Change G.needs’ of the patients, H. patients’ needs, J. patients needs,

  22. Question 28Apostrophe with Possessive NounCRS VI-4-c To save the trees and still provide for the patient’s needs,…. F. No Change G.needs’ of the patients, H. patients’ needs, J. patients needs,

  23. Question 34Apostrophe with Possessive NounCRS VI-4-c The bets terms stated that the loser of the wager,… F. No Change G.bets terms’ H. bet’s terms J. bets’ terms Tip: An apostrophe in a possessive noun takes the place of the word of. If you are uncertain if you need an apostrophe, place that of phrase back into the sentence and see if it works. (E.G. the terms of the bet- Yes!)

  24. Question 34Apostrophe with Possessive NounCRS VI-4-c The bets terms stated that the loser of the wager,… F. No Change G.bets terms’ H. bet’s terms J. bets’ terms

  25. Tip-Watch for Irregular PluralsQuestion 13Apostrophe with Possessive NounCRS VI-4-c They were our familys’ protection against the bleak winter. A. No Change B.family’s C. families D. families’

  26. Tip-Watch for Irregular PluralsQuestion 13Apostrophe with Possessive NounCRS VI-4-c They were our familys’ protection against the bleak winter. A. No Change B.family’s C. families D. families’

  27. Strategy 4-The Most Important Skill Sentence Combining Know how to combine two sentences into one. Variations on this question can appear as many as 10-12 times on any exam. Often the question is posed as a “Which of the following is NOT an acceptable alternative to the underlined portion.” Let’s review how we can do this.

  28. Punctuation StrategyHow ACT Combines Two Sentences • Use a period at the end of one and start the other with a capital letter. • Use a semi-colon between the two • Use a comma with one of the FANBOYS (for, and, nor, but, or, yet and so) • Make one a dependent and the other an independent clause. (use: who, which, that) • Use a colon to provide a definition. • Use a dash to provide a dramatic statement • Use a compound verb (one subject doing two or more things)

  29. The neighborhood was friendly, with lots of foot traffic. She envisioned their restaurant fitting in nicely here. A. NO CHANGE B. traffic, that she C. traffic, she D. traffic she Tip- Sometimes Simplest is Best Question 59 Sentence Combining CRS IV-5-a

  30. The neighborhood was friendly, with lots of foot traffic. She envisioned their restaurant fitting in nicely here.A. NO CHANGE B. traffic, that she C. traffic, she D. traffic she Tip- Sometimes Simplest is Best Question 59 Sentence Combining CRS IV-5-a

  31. Tip- Sometimes Simplest is BestQuestion 66 Sentence Combining/Fused sentenceCRS IV-2-a Soon McLean stepped on stage with his sax I wasn’t prepared for the impact. F. NO CHANGE G. sax. H. sax that J. sax, which

  32. Tip- Sometimes Simplest is BestQuestion 66 Sentence Combining/Fused sentenceCRS IV-2-a Soon McLean stepped on stage with his sax I wasn’t prepared for the impact. F. NO CHANGE G. sax. H. sax that J. sax, which Again, keep it simple!

  33. Tip- Circle the NOTQuestion 40- Sentence CombiningCRS IV-5-a • Bidding became brisk. Townspeople felt compassion for the soldiers fighting in the eastern United States. • Which of the following alternatives to the underlined portion would NOT be acceptable? F. brisk, townspeople G. brisk because townspeople H. brisk, since townspeople J. brisk; townspeople

  34. Tip- Circle the NOTQuestion 40- Sentence CombiningCRS IV-5-a • Bidding became brisk. Townspeople felt compassion for the soldiers fighting in the eastern United States. • Which of the following alternatives to the underlined portion would NOT be acceptable? F. brisk, townspeople (no FANBOYS) G. brisk because townspeople (IC +CC) H. brisk, since townspeople (IC + CC/ NR) J. brisk; townspeople (semi-colon)

  35. Tip- Circle the NOTQuestion 60 Sentence CombiningCRS IV-5-a But she was disappointed when she talked to the real estate agent-- the building wouldn’t be available for six months. Which of the following alternatives to the underlined portion would NOT be acceptable? F. agent. The G. agent: the H. agent, the J. agent; the

  36. Tip- Circle the NOTQuestion 60- Sentence CombiningCRS IV-5-a But she was disappointed when she talked to the real estate agent-- the building wouldn’t be available for six months. Which of the following alternatives to the underlined portion would NOT be acceptable? F. agent. The (two sentences, use a period) G. agent: the (colon- “that is” to give a reason) H. agent, the (NO FANBOYS) ( J. agent; the (semi -colon)

  37. Tip- Read Choices CarefullyQuestion 54 Sentence CombiningCRS IV-5-a • Tran worked as a hospital clerk, and Maya was an assembler in an electronics factory. • Which of the following alternatives to the underlined portion would NOT be acceptable? F. clerk, while G. clerk where H. clerk; J. clerk. Note: In this example we begin with two sentences joined by a comma and a FANBOYS.

  38. Tip- Read Choices CarefullyQuestion 54 Sentence CombiningCRS IV-5-a • Tran worked as a hospital clerk, and Maya was an assembler in an electronics factory. • Which of the following alternatives to the underlined portion would NOT be acceptable? F. clerk, while (IC +CC) G. clerk where H. clerk; (semi-colon) J. clerk. (end with period, drop the and) Note: In this example we begin with two sentences joined by a comma and a FANBOYS.

  39. Tip- Read Choices CarefullyQuestion 74 Sentence CombiningCRS IV-5-a The musicians walked offstage. The room filled with applause.. Which of the following alternatives to the underlined portion would NOT be acceptable? F. offstage, and the G. offstage; the H. offstage. Then the J. offstage as if the Note: Again, look at how we begin with two full sentences underlined.

  40. Tip- Read Choices CarefullyQuestion 74 Sentence CombiningCRS IV-5-a The musicians walked offstage. The room filled with applause.. Which of the following alternatives to the underlined portion would NOT be acceptable? F. offstage, and the (comma with a FANBOYS) G. offstage; the (semi-colon) H. offstage. Then the (new sentence, showing cause and effect) J. offstage as if the (no condition ) Note: Again, look at how we begin with two full sentences underlined.

  41. Tip-The Hidden FANBOYSQuestion 29Fused SentenceCRS IV-5-a To save the trees and still provide for the patients’ needs, scientists began to produce taxol synthetically in the laboratory from the tree’s leaves. This process is more costly than harvesting the bark, growing the foliage in a nursery provides a renewable resource. A. No Change B. This C. As this process D. Although this process

  42. Tip-The Hidden FANBOYSQuestion 29Fused SentenceCRS IV-5-a To save the trees and still provide for the patients’ needs, scientists began to produce taxol synthetically in the laboratory from the tree’s leaves. This process is more costly than harvesting the bark, growing the foliage in a nursery provides a renewable resource. A. No Change B. This C. As this process D. Although this process

  43. Strategy 5Keep your focus on the question When reading the rhetoric questions which ask you to consider making changes to what is written to create a certain effect, underline the key phrase you are to address so as to not lose focus on what the question asks.

  44. Tip- Follow the DirectionsQuestion 5Relevancy of Sentence DetailsCRS I-3-b • If the writer were to delete the phrase”while a large pot of water heated up on the stove” from the preceding sentence….the paragraph would lose a phrase that A. describes the duties specific to the narrator’s role in canning tomatoes B. Indicates where the canning takes place and why water is needed in the process C. Establishes a logical transition to the information in the remainder of the paragraph D. Establishes that part of the canning process involved putting the tomatoes in water.

  45. We washed the tomatoes in the kitchen while a large pot of water heated up on the stove. Step 1: remove the phrase We washed the tomatoes in the kitchen while a large pot of water heated up on the stove.

  46. Strategy 6Apply the 100% Rule ACT wants you to select the correct answer from among choices that might be correct. To do this, ask yourself if the choice you have selected is 100% correct in what it says. No portion of your choice should fail to meet this requirement.

  47. Tip- Follow the DirectionsQuestion 5Relevancy of Sentence DetailsCRS I-3-b • If the writer were to delete the phrase”while a large pot of water heated up on the stove” from the preceding sentence….the paragraph would lose a phrase that A. describes the duties specific to the narrator’s role in canning tomatoes B. Indicates where the canning takes place and why water is needed in the process C. Establishes a logical transition to the information in the remainder of the paragraph D. Establishes that part of the canning process involved putting the tomatoes in water.

  48. Tip- Mark the Key PhraseQuestion 8-SupportAdd sentence for supportCRS I-4-c It was impossible to keep a straight face as seeds squirted through the air and stuck the walls around us. Given all the choices are true, which one helps the reader best visualize the specifics of the scene? F. No change G. air while we watched with amusement. H. air, creating a sight to behold J. air on those hot summer days.

  49. Tip- Mark the Key PhraseQuestion 8-SupportAdd sentence for supportCRS I-4-c It was impossible to keep a straight face as seeds squirted through the air and stuck the walls around us. Given all the choices are true, which one helps the reader best visualize the specifics of the scene? F. No change G. air while we watched with amusement. H. air, creating a sight to behold J. air on those hot summer days.

  50. Tip-Study Essay FormsQuestion 9-Support/IntentCRS I-5-a ”Sometimes we sang along with the radio, frequently substituting the word tomato for a prominent word in the song. “ The writer is considering deleting the proceeding sentence. Should the writer make this change? A. Yes, because the sentence disrupts the paragraph’s attention to the visual aspects of the narrator’s memory of canning tomatoes. B. Yes, because the sentence inappropriately shifts the focus of the paragraph to the narrator’s enthusiasm for singing. C. No, because the sentence is consistent with the paragraph’s focus on the aspects of canning tomatoes that are memorable to the narrator. D. No, because the sentence sets up a logical contrast with the narrator’s reserved behavior as described in the sentence before it.