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McGraw –Hill’s Top 50 Skills for a Top Score 
by Brian Leaf (2010) 

This is a great book with much more useful information and practice than is presented here.  It's purchasable on

The first test given on the ACT is a 45-minute English test.

The test targets 15 kinds of grammatical errors.

For subject-verb agreement questions, identify the subject(s) and verb(s) and apply the rules you know.  Remember that subjects are not found in prepositional phrases.  Sometimes when the verb is underlined in the passage, the question targets the correct tense, not subject-verb agreement.

Some questions test your ability to use the correct transition.  Check out the transitions page and its paragraph at the bottom to see transitions in action.

This book thinks these are the comma rules that will be tested: 
Commas, dashes, and parentheses are used interchangeably to set off interrupting elements.

The ACT will ask you to pick the correct preposition, which they inaccurately call “the correct idiom.” Choosing the correct one will come naturally to you  if English is your first language.

You are tested over the proper use of I and me as well as it’s and its.

To show possession, you add ’s or s’; the first for single nouns and the second for plural nouns.

Sometimes, you will need to delete an unnecessary adverb suffix -ly when it's added to a word.

When beginning subordinate (dependent) clauses, use which for clauses about things and who for people.

You will also have to show you know which correlative conjunctions go together: neither—nor, either—or, not only—but also.

Active voice verbs have the subject doing something. 
Active voice: Johnny hit the ball.
Passive voice verbs have something happening to the subject.    Passive voice: Johnny was hit by the ball.
Active voice is the preferred option with rare exceptions not seen on the ACT.

Remove unnecessary words to avoid redundant language.

A descriptive phrase should always be near the word it describes. Otherwise, it's a misplaced modifier.  If you leave out a noun for a participial phrase to modify, you have a dangling participle.

You will have to pick a better word than the one provided. The ACT doesn't directly test  you on vocabulary words, but if you want to pick a better word, it's easier to do if you know what the original word and the options mean.

“Flow questions”  ask about the logical progression (order) and organization of the passage.

Several questions will ask you to choose an answer based on its ability to help you accomplish a very specific goal.

Some questions will ask you to decide if a passage accomplished a certain intention. Make sure the answer applies to the entire question and not just part of it.

The Reading Test

Be sure to read the few lines in bold that introduce each passage on the test.

The Four Types of Reading Passages
1.    Prose Fiction—short stories or portions of them.
2.    Social Science—history, psychology
3.    Humanities—art, music, philosophy, etc.
4.    Natural Science—science, naturally! ;)