To get your highest score on the ACT English section, you need to remember these two important strategies: 1. The shortest answer is often the correct answer. 2. When in doubt take it out. The paragraph below is a real ACT question which demonstrates both examples.
My friend Ellen is typical (1) of many more potters in that some pieces she shapes on a spinning potter’s wheel and others she builds on a work table from coils or slabs of clay. Over many weeks, (2) as time goes by, her collection slowly grows: clay bowls, cups, vases, and sculptures fill the studio. She dries them on racks, dips them in glazes, and dries them again.
1) A. NO CHANGE B. of many C. mostly of D. for most
2) E. NO CHANGE F. with the passing of time, G. gradually, H. OMIT the underlined portion
The shortest answer wins
For most native English speakers, it’s easy to notice that there’s something wrong with the first sentence above. However, since all the answer choices are pretty similar, fixing the sentence may be confusing. In cases like these, go with the shortest answer. B and D look the same, but if you count the letters in each, you’ll notice that B has fewer characters and is also the correct answer!
When in doubt, take it out
Whenever you have the option to omit something, give it serious consideration. One-third of ACT English questions test redundancy so when in doubt, take it out! As you see in number 2, “as time goes by” is the same as saying “over many weeks.” Some of the other answer choices might look tempting, but if the sentence works fine without it, take it out!
Use these two techniques to get your highest score on the ACT English section. For more ways to boost your score before the test, read part 4 of this series and check out Brightstorm ACT English.