Up Your Score: ACT, 2016-2017 Edition: The Underground Guide

Up Your Score: ACT, 2016-2017 Edition: The Underground Guide


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It’s the ACT’s turn. No longer considered a “regional” test and accepted at all four-year colleges throughout the United States, it’s the most popular college admissions test in the country. More than 1.8 million students from the class of 2013 took it.

Now updated to address the changes planned for the ACT in 2015, Up Your Score: ACT is the test prep and survival guide that kids will actually want to use. Written by Chris Arp, a Princeton graduate and top ACT tutor— with the help of four students who aced the test (and went on to the colleges of their choice)—it’s a true insider’s guide, filled with effective strategies and tips, delivered with the attitude, smarts, and wit that make Up Your Score the best-selling alternative test prep series in print.

Beginning in 2015, the ACT will include more layers in its scoring (including separate STEM, English language arts, and “progress toward career readiness” sub-scores); in some places it will be administered digitally (and those tests will include optional “constructed-response” questions, in which students will have to come up with the answers, not select among multiple choices); and the essay will be less open ended, requiring more analysis. In addition to addressing these changes, the book explains how to crush the reading section by developing the Five Habits of Lean Forward Reading. Master the math section through techniques like “plugging in,” an amazing trick that simplifies all algebra word problems. Annihilate the English section by absorbing six key punctuation and eight essential grammar rules. And sail through the science section by understanding that it actually tests reasoning.

Plus there is an ACT fitness regime, tongue-in-cheek fashion and beauty tips, and a recipe for energy-boosting GameFace Quintuple Sugar Blast Bars. Good luck finding that in any other test prep book.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780761184492
Publisher: Workman Publishing Company, Inc.
Publication date: 07/14/2015
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 1,171,659
Product dimensions: 7.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Chris Arp is a veteran and highly sought-after test-prep tutor at Veritas (now called Zinc Educational Services). He has a BA from Princeton and a masters in education from Brooklyn College and is writing a novel.

Ava Chen is a graduate of MIT and is currently studying the behavior of jumping spiders at Harvard's Wyss Institute.

Jon Fish graduated in three years from the University of Kentucky with a degree in history and political science. He plans to attend law school.

Zack Swafford is getting a masters in artificial intelligence at Stanford.

Table of Contents

Introduction: A Brief History of This Book 1

Let's Begin at the Beginning 2

But Then Something Great Happened 4

Years Later 5

A Few More Years Later 8

Devon: A Formal introduction 8

Chapter 1 Everything You Always Wanted to Know About the ACT (But Were Afraid to Ask) 9

Before We Dive In, Any Questions? 10

SAT or ACT? 12

How High Should I Reach? 15

The True Story of the ACT-bot 18

A Series of Pep Talks 21

The Score on Scoring 24

Practice, Practice, Practice! 28

The Digital Future 30

Chapter 2 Keeping Your Cool: Anxiety and the ACT 31

The Darkness: A Maelstrom of Fear 32

The Light: Studying Without Stress 37

First, Make a Plan 37

Be Here Now 42

Still Stressed? Good! 44

Chapter 3 How to Be Smart: Key Strategies for the ACT 45

Building Your Endurance 46

Speed 48

The Grand Strategy: Skipping and Coming Back 49

Guessing and Eliminating Wrong Answer Choices 54

In Summary 55

Chapter 4 The English Test: Like That Annoying Uncle Who Corrects Everything You Say 57

The Nuts and Bolts of Proper English 58

Six Punctuation Rules 61

Can This Sentence Be Gooder? Grammar and Usage 77

Sentence Structure-Use Your Ears 85

The Big Picture: Rhetorical Skills 94

Moving Forward 104

Chapter 5 The Mathematics Test: The Easiest Section-If You Know Everything About Math 107

Math: Is It Impossible? 108

What's on the Mathematics Section of the ACT? 108

Some Quick Thoughts on Strategy 109

Basic Arithmetic 110

Advanced Arithmetic 133

Stop! 155

Algebra 156

Advanced Algebra 172

Break Time! 181

Geometry 181

Coordinate Geometry 202

Three Scary Words: Logarithms, Trigonometry, and Matrices 216

Hooray! 230

Chapter 6 The Reading Test: Because "The Movie-Watching Test" Would Have Been Too Much Fun 231

You Know How to Read 232

A Few Thoughts on "Test Reading" 234

Lean-Forward Reading 235

The Five Habits of Lean-Forward Reading 236

Patience, Young Grasshopper: Training to Become a Master Reader 240

Finally, the Real Deal: Tips for the Reading Section 243

So Many Different Types of Passages 247

Finally a Trick: The General Strategy 253

The Torturer's Tools: Know the Question Types 259

A Few Key Tone Words 263

Become the Monster: How to Create a Reading Question 265

One Last Thing: Dual Passages 269

Moving Forward 269

Chapter 7 The Science Reasoning Test: In Which Reasoning Is Tested Far More Than Science 271

What the Science Reasoning Section Says It Tests 273

What the Science Reasoning Section Really Tests 273

Overall Strategy: Go, Go, Go!!! 275

Data Representation 277

Research Summaries 283

A Scientific Drama 284

Conflicting Viewpoints 293

It's Party Time, Science Style 299

Chapter 8 The Writing Test: What's One More Section Among Friends? 301

How Optional Is Optional? 302

How the Test Works (and How It Doesn't) 302

Patented Five-Step Guide 304

But What If I Can't Write Five Paragraphs in 30 Minutes? 319

Let's Get Fancy: Advanced Moves 320

How Do You Get to Carnegie Hall? 322

Chapter 9 Countdown to Test Day: The Final 24 Hours 325

The 18th Hole 326

I ♥ Failure 327

Okay, nice pep talk, but it's the night before the test. Now what? 329

I didn't sleep last night and I feel like garbage 330

I'm too nervous to eat 331

I gotta be honest: Despite all the encouragement, I'm still feeling pretty stressed 333

But, but, but … what am I going to wear?!? 334

What about personal grooming? 335

My proctor seems a bit clueless, and I'm worried he's going to mess this up 335

What about these bubbles? What do I do with them? 336

I think the two kids behind me are cheating; is that … can I do that? 336

I've heard that these tests can be biased; is that true? 337

Alright, I finished the test; now how should I feel? 337

I'm freaking out, I feel like I messed up. Should I cancel my score? 337

So … it's over; I can have fun until college? 338

So, are we done here? 341

Who Are These People, Anyway? 343

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