How to Prepare for the ACT, ACT English Tips: Strategies for Rhetorical Skills Questions

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ACT English Tips: Strategies for Rhetorical Skills Questions

Questions in the ACT English section will ask you to identify and resolve issues of style, strategy and organization in sample sentences or short passages. To prepare for questions about rhetorical skills, make sure that you:

  • Read the question carefully. What exactly are you being asked to do? Look out for key words like β€œwhy” and β€œhow” to guide you to the correct answer choice.
  • Avoid wordiness. Your task in the ACT English exam is simply to find the best answer choice for the specific question being asked, regardless of your personal preferences as a writer. Longer, more complicated sentences are not always the best choice compared to concise, clear sentences.
  • Determine the appropriate context for the question. Depending on the type of question, you will need to focus on a different selection of text. For example, choosing the best transition sentence will require reading the text both before and after the underlined sentence. If you are asked to select the best concluding sentence, you will want to read the paragraph that precedes the underlined text.
  • β€œHear” the sentence in your head. When answering questions about style, focus on the way that the entire sentence reads. Pay attention to any extra or missing words, as well as the order of the words.

ACT English Tips: Improve Your English Score with These Grammar Rules

Slightly more than half of the questions in the ACT English section will focus on punctuation, grammar and word usage and sentence structure. You can prepare to ace this section by looking out for these common grammar, punctuation and usage issues:

  • Independent vs. dependent clauses
  • Apostrophe for possessives vs. plurals
  • Subject-verb agreement
  • Correct verb tense, including parallelism and sentence structure
  • Sentence mechanics: fragments, run-ons and comma splices

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