Tutor Time: Our Favorite Parts of the ACT

By September 25, 2019 No Comments

Though our tutors come from all different walks of life, they all have one thing in common: they love to teach. The diversity of their interests, studies, and careers is integral to the strength of our tutoring program, and our passion for helping students is what collectively drives us to learn from each other and continue improving our methods.

With the October ACT on the horizon, we reached out to our tutors to ask them about their favorite sections of the ACT to teach. Here are some of their responses. 

“I enjoy helping students approach the reading section. It’s actually one of the few sections of the ACT where you might learn something! And I think that’s one of the keys to doing well on this section of the test. Beyond mastering some common strategies (such as recognizing question types, annotating the text, and reordering the passages) students can improve their scores by going into the reading section with a sense of excitement and curiosity for the subject matter. Helping students build that mindset is incredibly rewarding because I get to be an advocate for reading in general.” – Eric

“Statistics. I always thought of myself as a “B” math student until graduate school, when I found that I have a real aptitude for teaching math — maybe because it hasn’t always come easy to me. As the ACT has come to emphasize statistics more, I’ve taken more time to work in sociological examples of distributions that help students understand why the difference between mean, median, and mode matter, even though all of them theoretically measure the central tendency of a set of values.” – Griffin

“I enjoy reviewing subject-verb agreement (SVA) with students. It’s a heavy-hitter on the English section because it’s involved in a lot of different question types, but once you review the rules and go over how the ACT tests SVA, something clicks! I live for those lightbulb moments with students, and SVA never fails to offer one up early on in ACT prep.” – Gabbi

“One of my favorite math concepts to teach is quadratic equations. I love explaining to students why we factor quadratics, how the factors relate to the x-intercepts of the graph of the parabola, and why the discriminant tells you exactly how many real roots a quadratic has. Further, I enjoy exploring the various ways to solve math problems on the ACT and showing students that there are multiple ways to approach problems about quadratic functions, which just depend on your perspective.” – Caitlyn B.

“Punctuation rules. I like teaching this part of the English section almost like math, showing students that if they follow the ACT’s specific grammar rules every time, they can do really well. Once students internalize these rules, I find that the English section scores tend to improve quickly, so it can provide affirmation to students that they’re doing well and help to build their confidence.” – Dan

“Mapping the passage. Students are sometimes intimidated by the reading section of the ACT. Mapping the passage demystifies the daunting page of content and breaks the reading up into manageable paragraphs, notable descriptors and main ideas. Underlining, starring, circling and question marking — these tools help keep students engaged as they near the homestretch of the test.” – Julie

“Digging into those last ten math questions is always really rewarding for me. Mostly because those questions are sometimes challenging for me despite the fact that I taught math for a number of years! I love the challenge, though, because it allows me to think through the eyes of the test taker and figure out the problems alongside my students.” – Peter

“Sentence structure. So many of the questions on the ACT English section hinge on an understanding of the parts of a sentence: how to identify the subject, the verb, prepositions, and other key parts of the sentence. It’s exciting to see students gradually understand these few, tricky concepts and use them to unlock the answers to seemingly unrelated questions on commas, semicolons, periods, and other grammatical elements.” – Anthony

“I enjoy introducing students to the science section. Often students don’t have any prior experience with the test, so they believe (as the name suggests) that the test will be quizzing them on science facts they should have memorized in school. It is great to demystify the test and show them that it’s mostly a test of reading and analyzing charts and graphs and, similar to the reading test, all the answers are right there in front of them. I also think the critical analysis skills that they must develop in order to perform well on the science test will help them beyond their test prepping days.” – Allie