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36U ACT Tips

ACT English Tip (5/26/2023)
Avoid redundancy by eliminating phrases that state similar ideas. It was stated in the sentence that the flowers are swaying because of the strong breeze, so describing them as swaying “in the wind” is redundant.
ACT Math Question of the Month (5/26/2023)

The circumference is the distance around the tire. One revolution is one circumference of the tire.

Calculate the circumference (C):

C = pi * diameter

C = pi*26 inches (~81.68 inches)

Now, divide 63,360 inches (1 mile) by your circumference to figure out how many circumferences, or revolutions, the tire made:

63,360/ 81.68 = ~776 revolutions

ACT English Tip (4/7/2023)
The pronoun in question is referring to each of the butterflies, which is singular. Choose the singular pronoun its.
ACT Science Question of the Month (4/7/2023)

Answer: stays the same!

When the wind speed is constant, the number of seeds fallen is the same for different amounts of rainfall.

For example, when the wind speed is high, the number of seeds fallen is 21-30 regardless of whether the rainfall is 0.5 in or 1.0 in.

Likewise, when the wind speed is medium, the number of seeds fallen remains at 11-20 for both 0.5 and 1 inch of rain, and when the wind speed is low, the number of seeds fallen is 5-10 for both levels of rainfall.

Thus, the rainfall does not affect the number of seeds fallen.

ACT Math Question of the Month (3/17/2023)

Set up a proportion:

(2 feet)/(1 second) = (x feet)/(y seconds)

2 = x/y

Solve for y.

y = x/2

Answer: x/2 seconds

Pro Tip: Assign a real value to “x” to make it easier to conceptualize the problem.

For example, if x = 6, you’re standing 6 feet from the rainbow. If it takes you 1 second to walk 2 feet, it will take you 3 seconds to walk 6 feet. That’s 6/2 (or x/2) seconds.

ACT English Tip (3/17/2023)
Paddy O’Furniture!
Avoid extraneous commas by reading the sentence out loud and assessing the need for a pause. If you don’t need to pause when speaking the sentence, you can likely drop the comma.
ACT English Tip (5/20/22)
Remember that the possessive form of “it” is “its.” Be careful: “It’s” means “It is.”
ACT Math Tip (4/19/22)
Dolly has scores of 48, 50, 52, and 54. She has one round to go, and needs an average of 50! Plug into the average formula and solve for x.
ACT English Tip (3/8/22)
Recognize that the subject may be separated from the verb by a nonessential side comment!
ACT Math Tip (2/9/22)
Model with an exponential function when the rate of change depends on the current value.
ACT Math Tip (1/12/22)
Remember that the perimeter of a circle is its circumference!
ACT Science Tip (12/16/21)
Remember to differentiate between independent and dependent variables. The dependent variable “depends” on the independent variable.
ACT Math Tip (11/16/21)
Use trig ratios to find distances that involve right triangles.
ACT English Tip (10/12/21)
Adverbs describe verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs, and often end in “-ly.”
ACT English Tip (9/23/21)
You should be able to answer 5 to 10 English items correctly just by choosing clear and concise language.
ACT Math Tip (8/11/21)
Recognize the distance formula as a simple application of the Pythagorean Theorem!
ACT English Tip (7/21/21)
Place the subject immediately after the introductory description to avoid confusing your readers.
ACT English Tip (6/2/21)
Practice reading for tone, point of view, and main ideas.
ACT Math Tip (5/17/21)
Find the area of irregular figures by separating them into common shapes.
ACT English Tip (4/16/21)
Choose the semicolon when connecting two complete thoughts!
ACT Reading Tip (4/6/21)
The ACT reading section can be tricky, but it’s important to remember to stick to the passage!
ACT English Tip (3/2/21)
Remember to position the subject immediately after the introductory description.
ACT Math Tip (1/20/21)
Get a top-end math score by reviewing exponential growth functions!
ACT English Tip (12/10/20)
Frame those nonessential side comments with commas!
ACT Math Tip (11/4/20)
You may only see one logarithmic equation on the ACT math test, but if you get stuck, convert from logarithmic to exponential form.
ACT English Tip (10/29/20)
Be careful: the noun beside the verb may not be the subject! Locate the subject. Then check for agreement.
ACT Math Tip (10/19/20)
Find the probability of multiple events by multiplying the probabilities!
ACT Science Tip (10/5/20)
Practice evaluating experimental design. Experiments are set up to isolate the effects of a single variable—the independent variable.
ACT Math Tip (8/18/20)
When multiplying with the same base, add the exponents!
ACT English Tip (3/18/20)
Eliminate answer choices that join two complete sentences with only a comma!
ACT Math Question of the Week (12/6/19)
Jack skips rocks. He wins $1 every time his rock skips at least 5 times, but loses $2 if his rock skips fewer than 5 times. Jack skips his rock at least 5 times on 70% of his attempts. What is the average amount of money he will win per attempt (i.e., what is the expected value)?
ACT English Tip (10/24/19)
Pronouns are cool as long as your reader can tell who/what they are referencing.
ACT English Tip (8/19/19)
Lengthy sentences don’t always require lots of punctuation. Use punctuation only to make communication clearer.
ACT Math Tip (5/13/19)
Brush up on your right triangle skills to handle the most difficult of vector items!
ACT English Tip (3/26/19)
One of the easiest ways to eliminate answer choices on ACT English test? Eliminate redundancy!
The phrase “caused by all of the precipitation” restates information given earlier in the sentence. On the ACT, find the answer choice that does not contain the redundancy.

ACT Math Tip (2/11/19)

Recognize period and amplitude from trig graphs—even if you haven’t had Advanced Algebra! #mathmonday #math #ACTPrep #ACT #36U

ACT English Tip (12/26/18)

Pick up points on your ACT score by framing those nonessential side comments with commas! #English #ACT #36U

ACT English Tip (12/6/18)

Expect to match pronouns with antecedents 2 to 3 times on every ACT! #English #ACTPrep #36U

ACT English Tip (10/11/18)

Eliminate redundancy! Clear and concise is best. #36U #ACT #English

ACT Math Bell Ringer Solution (9/21/18)

Knock out Pythagorean Theorem items quickly!

Here’s your Monday bell ringer solution. #36U #ACT #math

ACT Math Bell Ringer (9/17/18)

Hey math teachers, here’s a bell ringer for your week! Review this ACT essential—the Pythagorean theorem (a2 + b2 = c2).

A. 5

B. 7

C. √13

D. 2√5

E. 5√2

Answer posted on Friday! #36U #ACT #mathmonday

ACT English Tip (11/15/17)

When in a hurry, it’s easy to choose the wrong possessive form. Be careful. #English #ACT #36U

ACT Math Tip (10/20/17)

Permutations! (New content on the ACT math test) #36U

ACT Math Tip (10/13/17)

The ACT has added new math content. Time to review factorials! #ACT #math #36U

ACT English Tip (9/13/17)

Be prepared to choose between adjective and adverb forms 2 to 3 times on each ACT.  #grammar #English #36U

ACT Math Tip (9/11/17)

You need to find the area of a triangle, but aren’t given the height…no worries. #sine #math #ACT #36U

ACT English Tip (8/24/17)

Use a semicolon to emphasize the close connection between two complete thoughts. #punctuation #English #ACT #36U

ACT English Tip (8/10/17)

Use a dash to add emphasis! #English #36U

ACT Math Tip (8/7/17)

Expect easy concepts to be tested in difficult contexts toward end of ACT math section. #mathmonday #arithmeticsequences #36U

ACT Science Tip (6/2/17)

Expect to utilize multiple data sources (text, tables, graphs) on the most difficult ACT Science items. #36U

ACT Reading Tip (5/23/17)

A rabbit’s ? pace isn’t required to ace the ACT Reading test. Take practice tests to find a pace that is best for you. #ACT #36U

ACT Math Challenge (5/16/17)

Try to find the 100th term in 15 seconds or less, without using a calculator! #MathMonday #MathWeek #ACT #36U

ACT Math Challenge — The Solution (5/16/17)

Here’s how to find the 100th term. How did you do? #MathMonday #MathWeek #ACT #36U

ACT English Tip (5/9/17)

Colons on the ACT can be confusing. This one tells readers to look for an explanation ahead. #punctuation #English #ACT #36U

ACT English Tip (5/2/17)

Place modifying phrases next to the terms they describe. #grammar #English #ACT #36U

ACT Math Challenge (4/18/17)

Archimedes knew displacement. Do you? #MathChallenge #ACT #Math #36U


Step 1) Recognize volume of displaced water = volume of rhino.

Step 2) Displaced water is in the shape of a cylinder.

Step 3) Water rose 12 inches, or 1 foot.

Step 4) Volume of displaced water = Surface Area of water * change in height

Volume = (π*r^2) * h

Volume = (π*10^2) * 1

Volume = 100π

Volume of rhino is approximately 314 cubic feet.

ACT Math Tip (2/21/17)

Savvy math students differentiate between odds and probability. #Math #ACT #36U


ACT English Tip (2/14/17)

English Pro Tip: Think of em dashes as spotlights… #English #ACT #36U


ACT Math Tip (2/2/17)

If you know the center and radius, you can write an equation for the circle.  #ConicSections #Math #ACT #36U


ACT English Tip (1/31/17)

Possessive form of who is whose, not who’s. #English #ACT #36U


ACT English Tip (1/26/17)

Use “whom” when the pronoun is used as the object of a preposition. #who #whom #English #ACT #36U


ACT English Tip (1/19/17)

Use “whom” when the pronoun whom is used as the object (action being done to it). #who #whom #English #ACT #36U


ACT English Tip (1/12/17)

Use “who” when the pronoun is used as the subject (doing the action). #who #whom #English #ACT #36U


ACT Math Tip (1/9/17)

Pair your substitution skills with modeling equations on the ACT.  #Math #ACT #36U


ACT English Tip (1/5/17)

Pro Tip: Use a form of the pronoun “who” when referring to people. #grammar #English #ACT #36U


ACT English Tip (12/15/16)

Pick up easy points on the ACT by identifying the possessive forms of it and they. #English #ACT #36U


ACT Math Tip (12/7/16)

When you take a left and there’s the Law of Cosines…#Math #ACT #36U


ACT Math Tip (12/5/16)

Often, group sets of ACT Math problems feature math within home reno projects. #matheveryday #angles #36U


ACT English Tip (12/1/16)

English Pro Tip: Place modifiers next to the terms they are describing. #English #ACT #36U


ACT Math Tip (11/10/16)

Save time by knowing ratios between sides in 45°-45°-90° and 30°-60°-90° triangles. #Math #36U

45°-45°-90° —> (1:1:√2)

30°-60°-90° —> (1:√3:2)


ACT English Tip (10/27/16)

Quick checks for pronoun-antecedent agreement gain points on the ACT. #English #36U


ACT Math Tip (9/29/16)

Top scorers know the Law of Sines isn’t difficult. Here’s how… #Math #ACT #36U


ACT English Challenge (9/22/16)

Communicate clearly by separating direct addresses with commas. #Challenge #English #ACT #36U


ACT Math Tip (9/9/2016)

Asked for the probability of multiple independent events? Multiply the probabilities. #Math #ACT


College Admissions (8/26/2016)

Are you interesting in attending an ACC school with a metropolitan feel? Consider becoming a Louisville Cardinal! #collegefriday

Middle 50% ACT scores: 22-28 (Source: 2014 admissions data from about.com.)



ACT Math Tip (8/16/2016)

Model a real-world situation with a linear equation? Be prepared to substitute rate for slope. #LinearModeling #Math #ACT


ACT English Tip (8/1/2016)

Misplaced modifiers cause miscommunication. Recognize and fix them on the ACT! #English #36U


ACT Math Tip (5/10/2016)

Probability of multiple events? Multiply the probabilities. #Math #ACT #ACTChanges #36U


ACT Math Tip (5/5/2016)

Know them. Love them. Save time by using them. #Arcs #Angles #Math #ACT #36U


ACT English Tip (4/21/2016)

ACT English Pro Tip: Subjects must agree with verbs; pronouns must agree with antecedents.


ACT English Challenge (4/6/2016)

Quick #QOTD! (Hint: Introduce subject immediately after intro description.) #English #ACT #36U


ACT Math Tip (3/14/2016)

Pro Tip: Don’t hesitate to divide a figure into simpler shapes. #Math #ACT #36U


ACT Math Tip (2/10/2016)

The Law of Sines while cruising through the ‘hood? #ACT #Math


ACT English Tip (1/27/2016)

Cool for sauce packets. Not so cool for your #ACT score. #commasplice #English


ACT English Tip & Challenge (1/6/2016)

Don’t miss these on the ACT English test. Tested often! #ACT #English #Tip #36U


ACT Math Tip (12/3/2015)

Don’t make linear modeling more difficult than it has to be. #Math #ACT #36U

  1. Begin with slope-intercept form (y = mx + b).
  2. Substitute the rate of change for the slope.
  3. Use the starting point as your y-intercept.
  4. Write equation: Depth = -4t + 20.3, where t is days from current measurement. (Note: Modeling equation is only valid over time frame when water is receding at 4 feet per day.)


ACT English Tip (11/23/2015)

Nice message. Could be even clearer…


ACT Math Challenge (11/19/2015)

With a name like trig, it’s got to be cool…#ACTMathChallenge #tbt #36U


ACT English Tip (11/12/2015)

Think of the dash as a comma with showcase power. #ACT #English #36U


ACT English Challenge (11/4/2015)

Sentence arrangement can get tricky. Hint: Introduce subject immediately after introductory description. #ACTEnglishChallenge #36U


ACT Math Tip (10/27/2015)

Look for more stats items on the #Math section of the #ACT. #ACTchanges #mean #median #36U


ACT Math Tip (10/15/2015)

ACT says to expect more probability items like this one with multiple independent events. #ACTMath #Probability #36U


ACT Math Tip (9/29/2015)

Think of the Law of Cosines as the Pythagorean Theorem with a minor correction. #mindblown #ACT #Math #36U


ACT English Challenge (9/21/2015)

Be sure to introduce subject immediately after introductory action. #ACTEnglishChallenge #MisplacedModifiers #36U


ACT English Tip (8/27/2015)

Nonessential side comment? Frame it with commas! #ACTEnglish #36U


ACT English Tip (8/12/2015)

Asked where a word or phrase should be placed in a sentence? Place next to object it’s modifying.


ACT Math Challenge (7/22/2015)

Is this #ACTMathChallenge too difficult for midsummer? We don’t think so. Do you? (Hint: Use the Pythagorean Thm and SOHCAHTOA.)


Social Media Post (7/14/2015)

Love the new pics of Pluto! Estimate size of Pluto’s heart? Sounds like fun. Here’s one simple method:


ACT Math Challenge (6/30/2015)

ACT Math Challenge: Discs form circle with radius of 30 inches. Find arc length?

Hint: Find distance around whole circle first. (circumference = 2πr)


ACT English Tip for Social Media (6/11/15)

Can you remove the side comment and the sentence still make sense? Frame the comment with commas!

ACT English Tip for Social Media (6/9/15)

Introductory elements provide setting for the sentence. Separate with a comma. #36U #CatchandRelease


ACT Math Tip for Social Media (5/19/15)

Write equation of a circle? You can do that! #ACTMath #36U


ACT Math Tip for Social Media (4/30/15)

Need a better score? Put these on lockdown! #ACTMath #Trig

ACT Science Tip for Social Media (4/22/15)

Celebrate #EarthDay? Yes, we’re in!


ACT Science Tip for Social Media (4/14/15)

Taking the ACT this coming Saturday? Here are some tips for reading those chaotic ACT Science graphs. #36U


ACT Math Tip for Social Media (4/7/15)

ACT Math Tip: Save time and pick up more points by knowing simple perimeter & area formulas. #circles #36U


ACT Math Tip for Social Media (3/24/15)

Love the deal they are offering at Wendy’s in Ringgold, GA. Ranch for 1/4 of a cent? Give me four!


ACT English Tip for Social Media (3/10/15)

Love the tacos. Learn from the punctuation. #ACTEnglish #36U


ACT Science Tip for Social Media (3/2/15)

Be prepared to match data from table with corresponding graph.


ACT Math Tip for Social Media (2/21/15)

Rate of change is constant? Model with a linear equation! #snow #36U


ACT English Tip for Social Media (2/9/15)

Lock down ACT English punctuation items by paying attention to quality journalists. #GoHawks #36U #ACTEnglish

Colon Tip 2.9.15

ACT Math Tip for Social Media (2/5/15)

Basics for adding interior angles–have to know them.

ACT Math Tip for Social Medial (1/21/15)

Asked to turn a scenario into an equation? Is the rate of change constant? Here’s how! #DeflateGate #BrainCompatible #36U

Linear Modeling 1.21.15

ACT English Tip for Social Media (1/14/2015)

ACT English Tip: Sentence start with a descriptive action? Introduce the subject immediately after the description! 

Modifiers Tip 1.13.15

ACT Math Challenge for Social Media (1/8/2015)

ACT Math Challenge: Saw Monday’s Tip? You’ll be ready for tonight’s challenge. (Month of ACT Prep to Winner)

Substitution Challenge 1.8.15b

ACT Math Tip for Social Media (1/5/2015)

ACT Math Tip: Substituting into function of two variables? Considered difficult, but can be easy points!

Functions of 2 Variables

Picking Up Points Quickly (Part 1 for Newsletter ) 12/31/2014

You can expect about 15 of the 75 ACT English items to test your proficiency of punctuation usage. Punctuation concepts are easily reviewed and grasped; therefore, they are a great place to pick up extra points on your ACT score!

Both middle and end-of-sentence punctuation will be tested, so you’ll need to be comfortable with the customary usage of commas, semicolons, colons, and periods.  Based on our research, we find the following pointers most helpful:

1)    Nonessential “side” comments should be framed with commas.

2)    Adjectives in a series, where adjective placement is not important, are separated by commas.

3)    Introductory phrases provide the setting for the sentence and are separated from the rest of the sentence by a comma.

4)    Colons introduce more info. On the ACT, that is often a list.

5)    Semicolons connect two closely related complete statements. (Avoid comma splices.)

You need to have a strong enough grasp of these punctuation concepts to be able to identify overuse. Distractor (wrong) answers most often have more punctuation than is needed.

Have questions, need more detail, or want to practice? Check out the English section of our online program at www.36university.com!

Social Media ACT Math Tip 12/10/2014

ACT English Tip: Have a favorite journalist? (We do!) Pay close attention to his or her writing habits to increase your ACT score!


Social Media ACT Math Tip 12/3/2014

Learn anywhere…

Finding the average of a data set is easy. On the ACT, be ready to find a missing score when you are given the average.

Disc Avg2 (M)

Social Media ACT Science Tip 11/25/2014

ACT Science Tip: Need to find input and output values for maximum or minimum? 36U strategy: draw in the arrows. Precision matters.

MaxMin Tip 11,24,14

Social Media ACT Math Tip 11/17/2014

ACT Math Tip: Most-tested conic section? Circles. Expect one on every test. Here’s how to handle it:

Conic Sections 11,15,14

Social Media ACT English Tip 11/11/2014

ACT English Tip: 3 places ACT is most likely to place extraneous punctuation #dontbefooled #36U

Veterans Day Post (M)

Social Media ACT Math Tip 10/13/2014

ACT English Tip: Introductory phrases set the stage for the sentence. Set apart by using a comma. #36U

teal pumpkin (M)

October Newsletter Hot Topic 10/30/2014


Difference Between SAT and ACT?

Traditionally, the SAT has been considered, and even has branded itself, a reasoning test. As its name Scholastic APTITUDE Test suggests, SAT items measure reasoning skills. The ACT labels itelf as a “curriculum- and standards-based…tool.” Both exams are now marketed as gauges of classroom skills. Judging from my 14 years of classroom teaching experience and my intensive test item research,  I believe the ACT is a better reflection of classroom standards.

Which Test Should My Student Take?

I recommend that students who rely on diligent study to excel in school take the ACT. Students who tend to get by on their “smarts” and lack necessary study skills are likely better served by taking the SAT. This is the question I would ask when deciding between the SAT and the ACT: compared with your student’s peers, does he/she rank better when measured by reasoning skills or by classroom achievement? Then, choose the test that suits your student!

The Ranking Is What Matters

Regardless of the test, it’s the national percentile ranking that matters most. The difficulty of each test becomes irrelevant when students are ranked in comparison with their peers. An SAT score of 1500 (50th percentile) and an ACT score of 21 (50th percentile) are equivalent achievements.

Are the Tests Changing?

Yes, both tests are changing.

The College Board is redesigning the SAT so that test items reflect classroom instruction more clearly. The “new SAT” is scheduled to be given for the first time in the Spring of 2016.

The ACT is enhancing its score reporting to provide more insight into a student’s readiness for college. Additionally, slight modifications are planned for the optional Writing test so that the ACT can better evaluate students’ analytical writing skills.

Do Colleges Prefer One Test Over the Other?

Almost all college and universities accept scores from both tests. Colleges are most interested in selecting students who are going to do well at their school. They want students who score well – regardless of the test.

–Kendal Shipley, Ed.D.

Social Media ACT Math Challenge 10/23/2014

‘Twas the night before the ACT…#ACTMathChallenge (Hint: 3:4:5 right triangle x 2)

right triangle (M)

Social Media ACT Math Tip 10/20/2014

ACT Math Tip. Save time by recognizing 3:4:5 right triangles. Look for scaled versions, too!


ACT English Tip 10/13/2014

Frame those nonessential “side” comments with commas!

Side Comment (M2)

Social Media ACT Math Tip 10/2/2014

ACT Math Tip. You can average two numbers? You can find the midpoint!


Social Media ACT Math Tip 9/29/2014

ACT Math Tip. Need distance between two points? Use the Pythagorean Theorem!

Pythagorean Large

Social Media ACT Science Tip 9/16/2014

ACT Science Tip. Some of the most difficult ACT Science graphs have a primary vertical axis. Does the data come from a vertical sample like a water or atmospheric column? Expect a primary vertical axis graph.

Strategy 1: Trace with arrows.

Water Depth qWater Depth pic a

Water Depth pic bWater Depth pic c

Social Media ACT English Tip 9/8/2014

There’s no telling where all you may run into those pesky comma splices. Avoid them on the ACT English section.

Taco Bell2 (M)

Social Media ACT Tip 8/26/2014

ACT Math Tip. Asked to find distance around a circle (aka circumference) on the ACT? Use either of these two formulas! 

disc circumference v2 (M)

Social Media ACT Tip 8/21/2014

This AJC journalist has semicolon skills. Up your ACT English score by paying attention to the punctuation usage of quality writers!

Mark Bradley semicolon (L)

Social Media ACT Challenge 8/13/2014

ACT Math Challenge: Be ready for small twists on simple probability. How many purple water beads need to be added in order to make the probability of drawing a purple 3/7?

A. 2      B. 4     C. 6     D. 8     E.  10

Math Challenge 8,13,14 fb

Social Media ACT Tip 8/4/2014

ACT Reading Tip. Asked to identify the main idea of a paragraph? Don’t get so caught up in the details that you can’t see how all the details relate. Together, the details form a bigger picture –- the main idea!

ACT Reading Trees (M)

Blog Post 8/1/2014

Combating Test Anxiety

1) Familiarity. The quickest way to begin easing test anxiety is to take away the “unknown” element to test taking. Tests in general, and the ACT in particular, are relatively predictable. Familiarize yourself with what is ahead; know that you won’t be caught off guard, and your confidence level will rise.

2) Content Mastery. The best way to handle test anxiety is to have a firm grasp on the content being tested. Hand ninth graders a test. Tell them they have three minutes to answer 30 items. And all who make a 100 get a $100 bill. You’ll have some anxious , nervous 9th graders. Then tell them the test is on multiplication facts on multiples of up to 12 x 12. For most of those students, anxiety will be replaced by excitement in a real hurry. When students are confident in their ability to perform, they are comfortable enough to excel!

– Kendal Shipley, Ed.D.


Social Media (Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr) 7/21/2014

ACT Math Tip. These cool beads become 6 times wider as they absorb water. Find the change in volume!

S/O to Homegrown Preschooler for the cool beads!

water beads twitter 2

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