A Final Look at the ACT Reading & Writing Sections

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SWBAT utilize group discussion, individualized feedback, video tutorials, and rubrics to continue preparing for the ACT and planning for their upcoming Gatsby writing project.

Big Idea

Required to do ACT Prep before "the big day"? Me too. But it doesn't have to be a waste of time...or even take up that much time to be effective!


5 minutes

Today we will have an extremely short period due to our early dismissal.  At the start of the class period, I will make sure to remind students that they need to finish the novel and their visual character maps before I see them again!  I am concerned that some of them may be putting it off since there is a long weekend between this period and next.  Also, I will ask students if they have any questions about the Gatsby Soundtrack project pre-writing tasks I gave them to "percolate" over at the end of last class period.  At this point, I don't anticipate many student questions about the project since it's still in the mental planning stages, but I think it's always important to check.

Practice Reading ACT

35 minutes

After our opening announcements and reminders, students will move into taking the final Practice Reading ACT Post-Test (Form 0661C) with their Chromebooks.  Like my other practice tests, I have included an Excel workbook in the resources section to help you analyze these results in a time-efficient manner.  While I typically go an extra step to analyze results by specific skill, I have not had time to fully breakdown this test.  Even though the workbook omits specific skill information, it does help students to see their own growth since beginning their work on ACT Preparation.  Additionally, it's extremely useful to me for data analysis to track students' progress.  See the reflection in this section for more information about how and why I tend to maniacally track data in my classroom!

Before they start work on their tests, I will give them some tips for taking the practice test, which are articulated here:

  • Remember what you took notes on in the Reading Tutorial.  Watch your time closely, and stick with the 9-minutes-a-passage idea to maximize what you are able to get through.
  • Questions within each passage get harder, so it's WISER to keep moving to a new passage when time tells you to do so if you're at the end of a question set.  You can always go back and check them later, but if you don't get to the next passage's beginning-easy-questions, you'll regret it.  
  • If the text section is not large enough for you to read in the form, you can use your ZOOM (click the three lines in your browser's top right corner) to make it bigger.  Alternately, any image you right click on will give you an option to open just the image in a new tab or window, so you can use this for a side-by-side text & question view.


As students complete their tests, I will use the workbook to immediately email them their subscores and overall score.  They should move on to the next section of the lesson as soon as they are finished with the test in order to maximize their class time in this shortened hour.


5 minutes

After students complete their practice tests, they should begin checking out the sample Writing Essays & Rubric for the ACT Writing section of the test.  We have been working with writing assignments based around similar formats all year, but I also think it's important for them to actively look at the rubric upon which they will be evaluated.  They should also view the video below from Bright Storm Test Prep to get a better understanding of the features of exceptional essays in terms of the ACT.

I will also remind students to use their post-test scores and interactive applications like NoRedInk and Number2.com to aid them in any last-minute efforts to improve their test scores.

Next Steps

Next time we will have our reading quiz over the final two chapters of The Great Gatsby!  We will also undoubtedly have a mini-celebration that the doom-and-gloom of the ACT is officially over.  (It's not just the students who will be relieved, let me tell ya!)