Study help for Big Picture type questions - ACT English?

Hello friends, I am going to take the ACT for a second time soon (got a 32 first time), and constantly get the big picture questions wrong on ACT English. I get one of these questions wrong about every other test. I review, decide it makes sense. Then go on to the next test where I miss one yet again. Are there some foolproof strategies to help with this type of question, or is the biggest thing practice?

Thanks, Shyam Polaconda

If you haven't already, I highly recommend reading through our targeted article on the best way to answer main goal (big picture) questions in the ACT English section. The steps we recommend for answering these types of questions are:

  1. Determine the main idea (either from the title or the first few sentences of the passage)
  2. Look at the question again and see if you can answer it now.
  3. Start with just the "yes" or "no" portion of the answers
  4. Eliminate the two choices that start "yes" if you know the answer starts "no," and vice versa
  5. In your own words, state why "yes" or "no"
  6. Pick the answer choice that most closely matches your reasoning

You should also hone in on why you're making these mistakes. It's not enough to simply read over the correct answer and decide that it makes sense - as you've seen, even if you understand why something is correct, that's not always enough to prevent you from making a similar mistake in the future.

Create a list of all the main goal questions you've got wrong, including the answer choices you picked and the correct answer choices. Do the same for the questions you answered correctly. What are the patterns in one group vs. another? For instance, do you find that you're more easily able to answer main goal questions when the correct answer choice begins with "Yes" than when it begins with "No"? Are passages on certain topics harder for you to answer questions on? Once you find the common denominator, you can work on eliminating your weakness. We have more great strategies on effectively reviewing your mistakes for the ACT here on our blog.