5 Keys to Verbal Test Prep for SAT and ACT
Getting students ready for the Verbal portions of the ACT or SAT may seem like a challenge. For many students, reading comprehension and verbal skills are difficult to manage. As a teacher or education coordinator, it’s important for you to get a handle on what is important for students on the SAT and ACT and encourage students to improve those skills.
1. Encourage reading in the classroom.
Both the SAT and ACT include critical reading sections that test a student’s ability to read a passage and apply analysis to answer questions. On the ACT, Reading is tested in a 35-minute, 40 question reading section that measures their comprehensive of four different passages. The SAT Critical Reading section (formally known as the Verbal section) have two 25-minute sections and one 20-minute section. Having students complete short and long reading passages in the classroom is the best way to prepare them for the type of reading that they’ll encounter on the standardized tests.
2. Build vocabulary with games and quizzes.
Vocabulary is essential for mastering the verbal and critical reading sections. In English classes, History classes and Science classes, students have the opportunity to be exposed to new words and their meanings. If you’re a teacher, you can concentrate on providing opportunities to build vocabulary through games and quizzes. If you’re an education coordinator, you can get everyone on your staff on board and provide cross-curriculum vocabulary building opportunities. For example, have teachers in two different subjects work from the same list of vocabulary words so that students are exposed to the same terms in several different situations.
3. Use online test prep software to prepare students.
The verbal and critical reading sections of the SAT and ACT tests require preparation and practice. One of the best ways to do this is with online test prep software solution. Test prep software can guide students through a variety of question types and prepare them for the situation they’ll encounter during either the SAT or ACT. Best of all, software can help them evaluate their strengths and go over sections of the critical reading or verbal sections that they need the most practice with.
4. Help students evaluate the critical reading sections before they answer questions.
Students shouldn’t just go into the reading sections before evaluation the paragraphs or passages. Becoming aware of the writing style in each passage can help prepare them for answering the questions more competently. For example, on the ACT students may encounter prose fiction, social science or humanities reading. They need to evaluate the type of writing at a glance and prepare to answer the questions.
5. Emphasize basic test taking rules.
The ACT and SAT may have more weight than a chapter test or mid-term, but the same rules apply. Remind students to read all of the answer choices before making their selection. If they have time, they should go back and double check their answers. If the test has any written passages, like the SAT II does, they should go back and review their writing and make necessary changes.
With these SAT test prep and ACT test prep guidelines, your students score better on the verbal and critical reading sections of the test.
[Photo Credit: Akira ASKR]