ACT/SAT English Best Approach & What Must I Avoid?

Posted on 9th March 2022

ACT/SAT English Best Approach & What Must I Avoid?

Doing well on the English section of the ACT (section 1) or SAT (section 2) is pleasantly straightforward: learn the nine question types and the grammar rules tested within each.  As you learn each type, practice past test questions from each concept to become intimate with how it looks and feels on the test.  Train your eye to spot each question as one of the nine types; then, know exactly how to proceed with confidence and precision because you have learned the question type and applied the rules to it so many times during practice.  These skills often take time and repetition to develop; fortunately, the path to developing them is well-defined.

As a UES student you will have access to over 30 ACT papers, over 30 SAT & PSAT papers, and 9 explanatory writing videos paired with their partner concept worksheets (comprehensive math, reading, and science materials comprise the resources unrelated to grammar).  In each video/worksheet set, you will learn exactly what is tested, how it is tested, and what grammar content you need to know to be able to answer each question confidently.  Once you work through this material, there should be no surprises on the English section come test day. A narrow scope of identifiable questions appears test after test; if you are willing to put in the time and work, we will guide you through this learnable content.

Under Free Resources you have access to all the ACT and SAT concept videos and limited access to the worksheets.  To access the entire catalog of videos, worksheets, and tests, enroll in ACT or SAT Tuition or subscribe to your very own UES Account for £39/month.

What is the Most Common Mistake When Approaching the English Section?

Many students instinctively approach the English section from the wrong direction: they rely on their ears, eyes, and intuition to make decisions, instead of simply learning the question types and exact grammar rules that each entails.  Why is this?

Have you ever proofread a paper and asked yourself, “Does this sentence sound right?” or “Does this comma, dash, or semicolon look right here?”?  These are common questions to ask; however, they are the wrong questions to ask on the ACT & SAT English.  Using this approach, the correct answer will often feel subjective, and—more importantly—the incorrect answers will not seem definitively wrong.  Rather than rely on your gut and instinct, why not just learn the question types and rules to simplify the whole process?

Many students find that independent clauses, semicolons, dashes, and colons feel somewhat alien or ambiguous.  Often rules governing such punctuation are taught in middle school or prior to GCSEs, or sometimes, not at all.  Thus, it’s very natural to make educated guesses on how each is used.  Although it requires more work up front, you will not need to guess if you watch the videos, complete the worksheets, and learn these rules.  Better yet, you’ll finally know the key elements of grammar, and you will have these skills for life!

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