ACT Reading Tips: How to Answer Multiple-Choice Questions About Literary Texts

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ACT Reading Tips: How to Answer Multiple-Choice Questions About Literary Texts

The ACT Reading section will require you to answer questions about passages from narrative or prose fiction (such as a short story, novel or memoir) , natural sciences, social studies and humanities (such as art, music or theater) . When answering multiple choice questions based on a passage, remember that the questions are worth as much analysis as the passage itself.

Understand the passage by:

  • Identifying the type of writing — what is purpose of the passage? Is it fiction, nonfiction or poetry?
  • Taking note of the title, which can tell you about intent or theme
  • Spotting key details like word choice, phrasing and literary or rhetorical devices
  • Summarizing the passage in your head to make sure you՚ve understood it

Understand the question by:

  • Determining what it՚s asking — Is it asking you to recall a fact or definition? Make a conclusion or inference? Analyze and interpret parts of a passage?
  • Eliminating obviously wrong answers, so you can focus on distinguishing between potential answer choices.
  • Looking for possible distractors or information that isn՚t related to the question and ignoring them.
  • Examining the wording of remaining choices. Key words or phrases in the text might give you clues.
  • Trying a true/false test with your top choices to help you select the correct answer.

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