The December 2019 ACT has recently been released. With each new test, Private Prep’s dedicated Curriculum Team studies the test’s trends and content to determine what students need to know to be best prepared for future ACT exams. Remember, each test is a learning opportunity that students can use to build on their success.
- This section felt similar to previous ACTs in the proportion and types of questions.
- The answer choice trends that “shorter is better” work well overall.
- Look for subject-verb agreement in questions that test verbs.
- Review dangling modifiers and look to apply those rules in questions that seem to test word choice or word order.
- Test “delete” answer choices by making sure the sentence left is grammatically correct.
- This test includes classic ACT-style questions and difficult concepts. Students may be challenged by Trigonometry and Algebra II/Pre-Calculus concepts including complex numbers, trigonometry, conic sections, exponential growth, logarithms, and matrix products.
- Scaling at the top end was fairly generous, likely due to the amount of specific knowledge required for particular question types.
- Scaling below the top end was well balanced and mirrors the general trend of previous ACT Math sections.
- If this section is an indication of those to come, students should study the following topics:
- Logarithms to solve for variables in exponential equations
- Law of Cosines to solve for missing sides in non-right triangles
- Division with complex numbers in the a + bi format
- Basic equations of the main conic sections (ellipse, hyperbola)
- Matrix product rules for non-square matrices
- Probability word problems
- Strong understanding of the concepts from the later chapters of For the Love of ACT Math will benefit students on high-level concepts.
- This section felt similar to tests from previous years that had friendlier question types than we have seen recently. This should make it easier for students to manage pacing.
- Students saw more questions with line numbers, which save time when going back to the passage to find information.
- The section scale was fairly standard.
- Students should continue to use important reading strategies, which may include the following:
- Do an initial read and map the passage.
- Approach questions in a more efficient order, such as beginning with line number questions.
- Remember to get context by reading around a given locator.
- Approaches from For the Love of ACT Reading such as comprehending the passage, understanding question types, and timing and passage order approaches will benefit students.
- A continued trend toward more experimental analysis questions, even on early questions within a passage.
- More questions appear asking students to compare two groups or understand the hypothesis of an experiment.
- Students needed an understanding of genetics and to compare sentences in the Conflicting Viewpoints passage.
- The section scale was slightly generous. This typically indicates that the section as a whole was somewhat challenging but not very difficult.
- Practice navigating the passage text with precision, looking for numbers and units to start.
- Look for trends, identifying direct and inverse relationships between variables.
- Skills from Chapter 3 on the Scientific Method and Sister Sentences in Chapter 5 of For the Love of ACT Science are increasingly important. Students can study those chapters in particular to strengthen understanding.
The ACT is released each school year in December, April, and June. Look out for more recommendations from Private Prep’s Curriculum Team when those tests are released. Have questions or need help with test prep? Don’t hesitate to reach out.