by Anagha, Day-Riverside Teen Squad
Every high school student knows the importance of a high ACT/SAT score, but one of the most underrated strategies to improve your ACT/SAT scores is reading. According to the US News, well-read students tend to score higher on the SAT because almost every section tests vocabulary and reading comprehension. The College Board and ACT both highly recommend extensive reading from a variety of genres as a valuable way to prepare for these tests.
In order to score in the 90th percentile or higher on the ACT/SAT, many standardized test prep experts say that there is no substitute for being an avid reader. Reading complex words is more effective and interesting compared to memorizing a list of vocabulary terms and phrases. Also, reading nonfiction books can make you familiar with complex, technical passages that you will see on the reading sections of the ACT/SAT and the ACT science section. For the English sections, being an avid reader will help you spot when something doesn’t “look right.” Reading can even help students improve their math sections because teens will be able to decipher complex phrases, even if they don’t fully understand the math concept. The ACT science section measures scientific reasoning, and one good way to prepare for this is to read science magazines such as Scientific American or Science Daily.
Studies have shown that teens who read for 30 minutes a day are much more likely to receive a 30+ on the ACT and a 1400+ on the SAT. Even spending 15 minutes a day can be the difference between a mediocre test score and an exceptional test score.
But how do you implement this in your own life? The best way to study for the reading section would be to actively read. What does that mean? Actively reading means to read a passage and take time to understand what you read. This could involve writing a brief summary of what you read and writing down any complicated vocab words. If you are reading a science magazine, take time to look at the nuances of each study and understand it. If you get in the daily habit of reading and responding to sophisticated non-fiction, you won’t just boost your SAT/ACT score, you’ll get to learn a lot, too.
To get instant access to thousands of books, magazines, and more, download the Overdrive or Libby app today. You can enter "Salt Lake City Public Library" and your library card number to get access to tons of fun and educational content. If you don't have a library card yet, or lost your card number, please call 801-524-8200, or you can apply for a Basic Card here. You can also access the City Library's ebook collection through the Sora app.
For more help with studying for the ACT, visit our Events page to learn about our free, virtual ACT Study Sessions, led by volunteer students from the University of Utah.
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