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SKIMMING-4 STEP SYSTEM TAKEN FROM CRACKING THE ACT: THE PRINCETON REVIEW 2012 Shelly Stille
Why are ACT passages hard to follow? � � The passage is pulled out of the middle of some larger work; you’re reading it out of context. It’s also tough to read an ACT passage because you don’t know why you’re reading it. You don’t know what you’re looking for or what you’re suppose to do. Example-$20 per hour job to go and check out a place and come back with a report.
Step 1: Find the Lead Words and Phrases-the focus of the question. � � � 30 seconds, before you read the passage, look at the questions (but not the answer choices). Underline any lead words they contain (words, phrases, or names that stand out and tell you what the question’s about). Example: Jeremy Bentham probably would have said that lawyers: Example: According to the passage, Peters differs from Jefferson in that: Example: As discussed in the passage, the integrative movement produced: When you find key words do not worry about meaning-meaning doesn’t matter.
Step 1 -some questions do not have key words � � Example: It can be most reasonably inferred that the author believes that: Example: Which of the following conclusions is drawn by the passage? None of the examples above have key words. What do you do? Ignore them. Among the ten questions that follow a passage, usually 8 or 9 will offer you lead words.
Exercise for Step 1 � � � � 1. Which of the following conclusions is drawn by the passage? 2. As discussed in the passage, Quentin Bell believes that historians and critics: 3. The author expresses the idea that: 4. According to the passage, academicism and mannerism: 5. According to the passage, Renoir differs from Daleur in that: 6. According to the passage, Cezanne’s work is characterized by: 7. In the author’s view, the phrase “modern sculpture” means sculpture that:
Exercise Answers � � Questions 2, 4, 5, 6, and 7 have lead words: “Quentin Bell, ” “academicism, ” “mannerism, ” “Renoir, ” “Daleur, ” “Cezanne, ” and “modern sculpture. ” Questions 1 and 3 are more general. They don’t have lead words.
Step 2 -Scan the Passage for Lead Words � � � 30 seconds Scan the passage very quickly looking for the same lead words you noticed in Step 1. You don’t read the passage, you scan it. Underline the lead words. Also, underline any words or phrases that seem to be very much like the lead words you find in the questions. Example “modern art forms” and “modern styles of art. ” Paragraphs
How Step 1 and 2 Help You � � � 1. You avoid wasting time trying to read and comprehend the whole passage. 2. You identify those places in the passage likely to provide answers to the questions you’re going to be asked. It’s those portions of the passage that you’ll read carefully when the time comes to answer questions. 3. You won’t always find the answer in a single sentence-sometimes you’ll have to read the whole paragraph or “read around. ”
Step 3 -Skim and Scribble � � � 60 seconds Skim the passage, and in the margin of each paragraph , scribble a few words that describe its main idea. Direct a little more attention to the first two sentences than to the remainder. Ask yourself, “What, basically, is this paragraph about? ” Use trigger words that show a change in direction: despite, however, nonetheless, but, rather, yet, unfortunately, on the contrary, hence. Exercise
Skim and scribble answers � � The first paragraph has something to do with the inside of the comet. Maybe it’s about density, too. Scribble: interior, density The second paragraph seems to provide details about what someone named Rickman did to calculate the density of the comet’s interior. Scribble: Rickman, details, density The third paragraph concerns what other scientist said sand did in response to Rickman’s work. Scribble: other people The last paragraph has something to do with calculating the comet’s rotational period. Scribble: rotational period
Step 4 -Practice the Loop � � � 40 seconds per question if you’re trying to finish all 4 passages. Go to the first question that points to an answer. Read it carefully. If it’s relatively clear, make sure you remember the question before you go back to the passage. Reword if necessary. Go back to the correct portion of the passage. Read it carefully. Try to formulate your own answer to the question and jot it down. Choose the answer that most resembles your answer.
Helpful Suggestions � � Be aware of special question types, including Vocabulary –in-Context questions, EXCEPT/NOT/LEAST questions, and roman numeral questions. Don’t forget to guess your Letter of the Day if there are questions that you can’t answer or don’t reach in time.