How do I stay focused on ACT Reading?

I've done pretty well on the ACT, but I still want to improve my Reading score (I'm around a 29/30 right now, and I'd like to get up into the 33-36 range). My main problem is staying focused in my studying and getting through all the passages. How can I improve my focus in both studying and taking the test?

If you're having trouble getting through all the passages without losing focus, you might want to try a different reading strategy. Rather than reading each passage closely, skim through quickly (read intro, topic sentences, and conclusion) so that you have a general idea of the main ideas before you get to the questions. This is a less tedious process, so it may help you to stay focused. Another strategy is just skipping straight to the questions before reading the passage. As you go through the questions, you can look back at the passage to locate the information you need.

Another way to stay focused is to generate interest in the subject matter of the passages. If you feel genuinely interested, your mind will be less likely to wander. The best way to do this is to start with the subject where you feel most comfortable. For example, if you're more interested in science, you could skip to the end of the section and read the natural science passage first. Easing yourself into the section like this will help start you off on the right foot with a more focused mindset.

I'd also recommend practicing critical reading skills in your free time. Here are some publications you can consult for articles that require college-level reading abilities:

The New York Times
The Wall Street Journal
The Economist (World News, Politics, Economics, Business & Finance)
The MIT Technology Review

If you're used to reading these types of advanced articles, you will have an easier time focusing on the ACT (and feel less of a time crunch).