Author:
Margaret Murray
Subject:
English Language Arts
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Level:
High School
Tags:
  • ELA ACT Test Prep
    License:
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike
    Language:
    English
    Media Formats:
    Text/HTML

    Education Standards

    ELA ACT Test Prep Course

    ELA ACT Test Prep Course

    Overview

     

    This course is designed to prepare students to score well on the English, reading, and writing sections of the ACT.  The following lessons focus on introducing students to strategies and reviewing key skills that will help them on the test.  Instructors can modify this course as necessary to fit with the needs of their students.  It’s even comprehensive enough that students can be assigned the course independently if instructors add links and instructions to the appropriate lessons to direct students to the practice sections that the instructor desires for students to complete.

    ELA ACT Test Prep Course

    ELA ACT Prep Course Instructor Notes

     

    This course is designed to prepare students to score well on the English, reading, and writing sections of the ACT.  The following lessons focus on introducing students to strategies and reviewing key skills that will help them on the test.  Instructors can modify this course as necessary to fit with the needs of their students.  It’s even comprehensive enough that students can be assigned the course independently if instructors add links and instructions to the appropriate lessons to direct students to the practice sections that the instructor desires for students to complete.

    This slideshow contains the 10 lessons listed below.

     

    Lesson 1- ACT Overview 

    • Slides 2-15

    • Standards N/A

     

    Instructor Notes- This lesson provides information about what students can expect when they take the ACT as well as provide some answers to common questions about the ACT.  Instructors can go through the slideshow and follow along with the information on each slide, adding additional information where applicable. 


     

    Lesson 2-  Reading Section: Reading Strategy Overview and Practice

    • Slides 16-27

    • Standards CC. RI.11-12.10/ CC.RL.11-12.10

    Instructor Notes- This lesson goes over the layout of the reading test and introduces section specific strategies for the reading test.  The instructor can display the slideshow on the board and go over the information on each slide.  Slide 21 has a timer so that instructors can give students time to practice skimming a reading section and creating a passage map.  Any ACT reading passage can be used for this activity, and this link has PDF copies of five free ACT tests that instructors can use to pull practice passages from.  When you get to slide 27, have students do a short timed drill where they read one passage and answer the 10 accompanying questions in the 8 minute 45 second timeframe.  After students complete the practice, it is recommended that instructors go over the answers and use the following formula to help students identify their raw score:

    #correct x 4 = raw score

    Then use this chart to help students see how their raw score equates to a scaled score between 1 and 36.  Doing this after each practice drill helps students understand how they are doing and guage progress.

     

    Lesson 3- English Section: Strategy Overview and Practice Section

    • Slides 28-36

    • Standards CC.L.11-12.1/ CC.L.11-12.2

    Instructor Notes- This lesson goes over the layout of the English test and introduces section specific strategies for the English test.  The instructor can display the slideshow on the board and go over the information on each slide.  Slide 21 has a timer so that instructors can give students time to practice skimming a reading section and creating a passage map.   When you get to slide 36, have students do a short timed drill where they read one passage and answer the 15 accompanying questions in the 9 minute timeframe.  Any ACT English passage can be used for this activity, and this link has PDF copies of five free ACT tests that instructors can use to pull practice passages from.   After students complete the practice, it is recommended that instructors go over the answers and use the following formula to help students identify their raw score:

    #correct x 5 = raw score

    Then use this chart to help students see how their raw score equates to a scaled score between 1 and 36.  Doing this after each practice drill helps students understand how they are doing and guage progress.


     

    Lesson 4- Reading Section: Understanding Question Types

    • Slides 37-41

    • Standards CC. RI.11-12.10/ CC.RL.11-12.10

     

    Instructor Notes- This lesson provides a more in-depth look at the different question types on the reading test.  Clink the link embedded on slide 38 to see examples of each question type, and then explain that the order on slide 38 ranks the questions from easiest to answer to hardest to answer.  Students should keep the question types in mind when taking the test, prioritizing time for easier to answer questions and remembering to guess when they find themselves taking more time with the harder questions.  It’s suggested that students always answer each question and flag the questions that they guess on and come back to them later if they have additional time rather than skip questions.  Slides 39 and 40 ask students to first look at a sample set of reading questions, label them, and come up with a strategy about how to answer them out of order.  This is a best practice for taking the test on paper, but it is not as useful if students are taking the computer based test, so you can compete or skip this lesson depending on your students’ testing environment.  You can use any passage and accompanying 10 questions for this activity.  End this lesson with the practice drill on slide 41.  Any ACT reading passage can be used for this activity, and this link has PDF copies of five free ACT tests that instructors can use to pull practice passages from.   After students complete the practice, it is recommended that instructors go over the answers and use the following formula to help students identify their raw score:

    #correct x 4 = raw score

    Then use this chart to help students see how their raw score equates to a scaled score between 1 and 36.  Doing this after each practice drill helps students understand how they are doing and guage progress.


     

    Lesson 5-  English Section: Rules for Combining Clauses 

    • Slides 42-46

    • Standards CC.L.11-12.1/ CC.L.11-12.2

    Instructor Notes- This lesson begins by reviewing the five rules for combining clauses because these rules are highly tested on the English section of the test.  I recommend that you also hand out this reference sheet.  It contains the rules as well as word lists that help them identify the different types of conjunctions that go with each rule.  When you get to slide 46, have students do a short timed drill where they read one passage and answer the 15 accompanying questions in the 9 minute timeframe.  Any ACT English passage can be used for this activity, and this link has PDF copies of five free ACT tests that instructors can use to pull practice passages from.   After students complete the practice, it is recommended that instructors go over the answers and use the following formula to help students identify their raw score:

    #correct x 5 = raw score

    Then use this chart to help students see how their raw score equates to a scaled score between 1 and 36.  Doing this after each practice drill helps students understand how they are doing and guage progress.


     

    Lesson 6- Reading Section: Strategies to Select the Best Answer and Practice Section

    • Slides 47-53 

    • Standards CC. RI.11-12.10/ CC.RL.11-12.10

    Instructor Notes- This lesson

     

    Lesson 7- English Section: Brief is Better- How to Eliminate Wordiness

    • Slides 54-61

    • Standards CC.L.11-12.1/ CC.L.11-12.2

    Instructor Notes- This lesson begins by reviewing how to eliminate wordiness because the ACT considers wordiness an error and heavily tests this on the English section of the test.  This is why Brief is Better works as a strategy.  I recommend that you also use this link to Purdue OWL and these exercises for additional practice with eliminating wordiness.  It contains the rules as well as word lists that help them identify the different types of conjunctions that go with each rule.  When you get to slide 61, have students do a short timed drill where they read one passage and answer the 15 accompanying questions in the 9 minute timeframe.  Any ACT English passage can be used for this activity, and this link has PDF copies of five free ACT tests that instructors can use to pull practice passages from.   After students complete the practice, it is recommended that instructors go over the answers and use the following formula to help students identify their raw score:

    #correct x 5 = raw score

    Then use this chart to help students see how their raw score equates to a scaled score between 1 and 36.  Doing this after each practice drill helps students understand how they are doing and guage progress.


     

    Lesson 8- Writing Section: ACT Essay Overview 

    • Slides 62-68

    • Standards CC.W1.11-12

    Instructor Notes- This lesson introduces students to the ACT essay.  Instructors can either just provide the overview information and then move into lesson 9 or include the Exemplar Activity on slide 68.  This link has released sample essays with scores and explanations that can be used for this activity.  I also highly recommend that you share this rubric with students and go over the criteria used to score the essays.

     

    Lesson 9- Writing: How to Organize Your Time and Your Essay

    • Slides 69-74

    • Standards CC.W1.11-12

    Instructor Notes- This lesson goes into more detail about how to organize and write the ACT essay.  Instructors should go through the information on each slide before moving on to the practice essay for lesson 10.

     

    Lesson 10- Writing: ACT Essay Practice (Plan to stay about 10 extra minutes)

    • Slides 75-77

    • Standards CC.W1.11-12

    Instructor Notes- This lesson allows students time to practice writing an ACT essay in 40 minutes.  Any ACT prompt can be used, and  this link has PDF copies of five free ACT tests that instructors can use to pull practice prompts from. I highly recommend that you have students self-score on this rubric before the instructor scores it and provides feedback.  This helps students formulate a more accurate perspective of their own performance.

     

    Extension Activity Slides

     

    Reading Practice Slide

    • Slide 78-81

    Instructor Notes- These slides can be used whenever you want to do a reading practice drill with your students.  Display slide 81 as they work.  Any ACT reading passage can be used for this activity, and this link has PDF copies of five free ACT tests that instructors can use to pull practice passages from.   After students complete the practice, it is recommended that instructors go over the answers and use the following formula to help students identify their raw score:

    #correct x 4 = raw score

    Then use this chart to help students see how their raw score equates to a scaled score between 1 and 36.  Doing this after each practice drill helps students understand how they are doing and guage progress.


     

    English Practice Slide

    • Slide 83

    Instructor Notes- This slide can be displayed whenever you want to do a English practice drill with your students.  Any ACT English passage can be used for this activity, and this link has PDF copies of five free ACT tests that instructors can use to pull practice passages from.   After students complete the practice, it is recommended that instructors go over the answers and use the following formula to help students identify their raw score:

    #correct x 5 = raw score

    Then use this chart to help students see how their raw score equates to a scaled score between 1 and 36.  Doing this after each practice drill helps students understand how they are doing and guage progress.

     

    The attached Google slideshow will go through 10 lessons designed to help prepare you to succeed on the English, Reading, and Writing sections of the ACT.  This course will give you specific strategies tailored to go with each of these three sections of the test as well as review important skills that the test addresses.  The second link will take you to a website where you can access free PDFs of full practice tests that you can use to practice either with your class or on your own since each PDF contains an answer key so that you can check your score.

    List of Lessons

     

    Lesson 1- ACT Overview

    Lesson 2-  Reading Section: Reading Strategy Overview and Practice

    Lesson 3- English Section: Strategy Overview and Practice Section

    Lesson 4- Reading Section: Understanding Question Types

    Lesson 5-  English Section: Rules for Combining Clauses 

    Lesson 6- Reading Section: Strategies to Select the Best Answer and Practice Section

    Lesson 7- English Section: Brief is Better- How to Eliminate Wordiness

    Lesson 8- Writing Section: ACT Essay Overview 

    Lesson 9- Writing: How to Organize Your Time and Your Essay

    Lesson 10- Writing: ACT Essay Practice (Plan to stay about 10 extra minutes)

    Reading Practice Slide

    English Practice Slide