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Last Updated On: August 21st, 2021

From time to time, the ACT makes minor changes to its test format and content. Recently, test makers announced a change to the ACT Reading section.

What is the change?

Beginning in 2021, one of the ACT reading passages may be accompanied by a graph, figure, or table that contains information relevant to the reading passage. The questions that accompany the graphic will require students to integrate information from the passage and the charts and graphs. You can find an example of such a passage, with graphics and their accompanying questions, here. The addition won’t change the number of questions nor the number of passages on the test.

How can students prepare for this change?

The good news is that students preparing for the ACT will already be practicing how to integrate graphs, charts, and text when they practice for the Science section. Students who have prepared for the SAT or PSAT will also have experience with similar types of questions, since the SAT Critical Reading section includes multiple passages with graphs.

The bad news is that the most current Official ACT Prep Guide for 2021-22, along with almost all other practice tests, does not include this type of passage in the reading section. If you’re currently getting ready for the ACT, check out the example questions (linked above) on the ACT website, and then use your ACT Science strategies to integrate the text and the graphics. One important difference—while it is often a good strategy to skim the text of ACT Science passages, you’ll probably want to read the entire Reading passage. Once you get to the charts and/or graphs, though, you might only read the titles and skim the information, as you would with a Science graphic, before you go to the questions.

Fortunately, your other preparation should leave you well prepared for a graphic on the Reading section, even if it looks a little different from the passages on your practice tests.

If you’re feeling uneasy, let us be your guide. Check out our latest information on the new test optional format.

Photo by Nguyen Dang Hoang Nhu on Unsplash

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