Speed and accuracy: the ACT in a nutshell

When it comes to the ACT there are two crucial aspects that all students need to appreciate: the sheer speed of the test and the need for accuracy. Initially, this speed aspect can feel overwhelming, particularly for those who struggle with time-pressure.

This is not incidental – students need to be able to master this time constraint while still retaining their accuracy. Particularly in the reading, this can lead to an interesting trade-off. For example, often students are faced with a dilemma to either a) read the passage more slowly and have a more comprehensive understanding of the material being discussed or b) read the passage more quickly and not have such a comprehensive understanding of the passage BUT now be able to spend more time on the questions themselves.

Knowing the correct ratio of time spent thinking/analyzing/reading versus actual solving is no easy task. As students practice, they should start to be able to get a feel for the right kind of trade-off to make. As a tutor, I usually push students to lean more towards giving themselves time on the questions. How much time? Only through trial-and-error can this be determined.

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