Tag Archives: reading

Just when you think you have the SAT and ACT figured out, the testmakers can still surprise you. Our two estimable college entrance exams have never seemed more alike, and yet certain dramatic differences between the two have emerged. In the past, students who identified as avid readers tended to prefer the SAT, where Sentence Completions rewarded the prodigious vocabularies that result from growing up with your nose in a book. But the SAT has abandoned explicit vocabulary questions and the pendulum has now swung the other way: students who are stronger in reading and writing than in math will flock to the ACT in droves. This makes sense, because the ACT has always been a reading test. READING ACT, Inc. committed long ago to rewarding real reading skills when the testmaker chose to base the ACT Reading Test on long passages that students actually needed to read to understand.…

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Life is tough, right? We’re always looking for ways to become happier, smarter, richer, and just plan better with the least effort possible. So why, when the obvious time-tested answers are staring us in the face, do we look away in search of something new and gaudy? The answer, when wondering how to become better in almost all possible ways, is to READ. Reading makes us better in so many profound ways. Obviously, through the right kind of reading, we become more knowledgeable. We also become clearer thinkers with more expansive vocabularies. But if you need more incentive than that to pick up a book, consider five more ways reading will make you better:   1. Reading makes you happier. “A nationwide survey commissioned by the National Year of Reading to explore the importance of reading in everyday life confirmed that reading can have real benefits for your health, as…

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Happy Holidays! Gifts are nice, but everyone knows that the best present is having a break from school! You might feel like throwing your school books into a closet and watching TV for a week, but why not find an activity that’s fun AND educational? Consider these amazing ways to stimulate your brain, while also taking full advantage of vacation: Read for fun. Reading is truly fundamental. Not only is reading the best way to improve your vocabulary, but this essential practice is also a killer way to improve your brain. Find a fun fiction or nonfiction book in a topic that interests you, and spend your free time indoors with a blanket and a great book. Listen to a podcast. There are so many interesting podcasts out there, you’re bound to find one that interests you. Whether you’re interested in crime, fashion, languages, or history, podcasts bring stories and…

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Every admissions test, from the exams used by private and parochial schools to the ones guarding the gates of law, medical, business, and graduate schools, challenges what we consider to be a core skill: reading. And yet, though every candidate comes to a test already knowing how to read, only the smallest fraction get every reading question right. Reading, particularly reading to quickly and efficiently understand non-fiction text, is a fundamental skill, one that can be practiced and improved. But why bother learning to read better, apart from the obvious impact on test scores? Simply put, reading the right texts in the right way provides direct access to the knowledge, wisdom, and feelings of the greats in every field. We don’t need to be them… we just need to read them.   “When we read, another person thinks for us: we merely repeat his mental process. It is the same…

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When Aristotle asserted, “To avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing, be nothing,” he probably didn’t realize that some folks would turn his aphorism into a winning PR strategy. Yet, we’ve all been so focused on future changes to the SAT that we haven’t noticed the ACT transforming gradually right under our eyes! ACT has avoided controversy by saying as little as possible. Shrewd, right? The writers at ACT, Inc. apply small tweaks all the time, but for at least a year, students have been encountering paired passages on the ACT Reading Test. Instead of four long passages, students may see three long passages and one set of paired passages. Even the ACT website now mentions this alteration, even though no official released ACTs included these new paired passages. ACT test takers have, up to now, been dealing with a version of paired passages in the Conflicting Viewpoints passage on the…

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Happy Read Across America Day! In celebration of this festive effort to build a nation of readers, we’re going to look past the obvious why and address the how: how can a person read more effectively? Reading, believe it or not, is a skill, one that improves with practice. So if you want to read faster while understanding what you are reading, read every day. And while you’re reading, focus on three specific comprehension skills:   1. Always focus on the purpose of the piece. When we read fiction, we focus on the story. When we read non-fiction, however, we might not be sure what we’re reading for. Tailor your reading style to the task at hand: Pleasure reading: take your time and focus on the story; have fun Academic reading: take notes and determine what you need to know or memorize Business reading: read efficiently, focusing on main ideas…

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