ACT Reading

Literal Translation Questions

Literal translation questions ask about the details of a passage. In contrast to your approach to general questions, to master literal translation problems, you will need to re-read and grasp details in the passage.

Literal translation or comprehension questions are phrased in the following ways:

  • The author’s discussion of antibiotics indicates that...
  • The author claims which of the following is a longstanding tradition?
  • Which reaction does Watson have to the statement in lines x-y?

You can use these steps to attack these questions:

  1. Read the question and focus on the key words you are likely to find in the passage
  2. If line numbers are not given, look over the passage to find those key words
  3. Predict an answer
  4. Eliminate three wrong answers to arrive at the right answers
  5. The answer must be true according to the passage

In short, the correct answer will be a simple paraphrase of part of the passage. The answer will rarely use the exact same wording as that found in the passage. The test is whether you understand the ideas well enough to recognize when they’re stated using different, often more general, language. If you understand the idea, you’ll be fine; if you’re too focused on the details, you might miss it entirely.

Make sure that you answer the question asked: there may be some answer choices that are true according to the passage but are not relevant to the question at hand. Additionally, the test makers will try to entice you by creating incorrect answer choices that could possibly occur or are likely to occur but are not certain to occur.

You must only select the answer choice that is most clearly supported by what you read. Do not bring in information from outside the passage; all of the information necessary to answer the question resides in the passage.

Supporting evidence questions will follow most literal comprehension questions