"Five minutes," the proctor says, and sweat beads on the foreheads of several teenagers. The standardized reading test they are taking is about to be over, but there are pages yet to read and questions still unanswered.

For most students, the worst part of the ACT and SAT Reading tests is time—or the lack of it. Too many passages to read. Too many questions to answer. And the clock ticks too quickly.


The goal of Personal Best Test Training (PBTT): Ordinary Reading™ is to help students accurately display their true reading ability on the ACT, SAT, and PSAT reading tests. PBTT: Ordinary Reading trains students in the type of focused reading they will need to perform under the pressure of tight time limits, challenging reading material, and a bevy of comprehension questions that may be more demanding than they have encountered on other tests.

Familiar Tasks

There's nothing mysterious about the ACT, SAT, and PSAT reading tests. In almost all ways, they're just "ordinary reading tests," albeit more arduous than students may have encountered before. Though the tests have slightly different question styles, the content tested is very similar aross the three tests. Your students will need to be able to do familiar reading tasks, including:

  • Identifying central ideas and themes
  • Summarizing ideas
  • Drawing valid inferences and conclusions
  • Understanding relationships, such as sequence, comparisons, and effects
  • Determining meaning of vocabulary in context
  • Understand the author's purpose, perspective, and technique
  • Evaluating claims and arguments, along with supporting reasoning and evidence
  • Distingushing fact from opinion
  • Recognizing text structure and rearranging elements for logical flow
  • Understanding character point of view
  • Connecting ideas across texts
  • And more

Students also must be able to handle lengthy, complex, college-level reading material in a variety of genres.


PBTT: Ordinary Reading provides strategies that have proven effective on standardized reading tests with more than 300,000 students in hundreds of high schools from coast to coast. Tips range from pacing strategies matched to the student's skill level, close reading strategies, approaches to specific question types, what to do when time starts to run out, and more.

Backpack-Friendly Practice Booklets

Students also need plenty of practice to be able to use the strategies on test day. The more reading they do with materials of similar format, style, and difficulty, the more prepared they will be for both all three reading tests.

Ordinary_Reading_covers.jpgThe PBTT: Ordinary Reading Study Guide (53 pages) provides:

  • Tips and strategies for success on standardized reading tests in general and the ACT, SAT, and PSAT/NMSQT in particular
  • 10 Practice Sets of reading passages and questions in a format similar to those found on the three tests
  • Thorough answer explanations for each practice question 

Click to download sample pages from PBTT: Ordinary Reading.

A complimentary, eight-page teacher's guide is included with each set of 30 student booklets purchased. The PBTT: Reading Teacher's Guide provides activities to enhance and extend learning.

Additional Practice Option

While much of the reading on standardized tests is just "ordinary," your students also need to be prepared to test on complex, technical passages that are accompanied by "graphical information"—charts, graphs, tables, and the like. The instruction and practice provided in PBTT: Technical Reading does just that. 

A Comprehensive Solution

PBTT: Ordinary Reading is one piece of a comprehensive solution for preparing students to do their best on the ACT and PSAT/SAT. For an overview of the entire Personal Best Test Training program, click here.

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Click the button below to request more information about PBTT. Or call 877-927-8378. We'll be happy to answer your questions.


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