What are the Tips for a Successful ACT Test?

This article is focused on sharing some tips for a successful ACT test with you as It will help you amass the higher score needed to move forward in your professional journey.

The ACT is a standardized test used for college admissions in the United States. It is currently administered by ACT, a nonprofit organization, and covers four academic skill areas: English, mathematics, reading, and scientific reasoning. It also offers a direct writing test which you may or may not opt for depending on your goals and inclination.

Several colleges and universities use ACT scores for admissions, placements, and scholarship decisions. This is exactly why millions of graduating students take to the internet to look for the best ACT test-taking strategy!

Necessary Information about ACT

Here are some very important information you will need to have on the regular structure of the ACT exam:

  • The ACT is a computer and paper-based test.
  • It is conducted 7 times a year in the US and Canada and 5 times in other countries, every year.
  • The mandatory sections of the ACT are essentially four multiple-choice subject tests in English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science Reasoning.
  • Subject test scores range from 1 to 36; with all scores always being in integers.
  • Each correct answer is worth 1 raw point and there is NO negative marking for wrong answers.
  • Duration for each section is as follows:
    • English: 45 mins
    • Math: 60 mins
    • Reading: 35 mins
    • Scientific Reasoning: 35 mins
    • Writing Section: 40 mins

Tips for a Successful ACT Test

  • Challenge Yourself

The best way to prepare for a college entrance exam is to take challenging courses in high school. The more challenging the class, the more prepared you’ll be for the test.

  • Improve Your Time-Management Skills

Students should practice taking the ACT timed as it will be on test day. Time pressure can contribute to a lower score. The more comfortable you are with the ACT’s time restrictions, the better chance you’ll have at scoring well on it.

The best way to manage your time on the ACT is to get a sense of approximately how long you can spend on each question. Certain sections give you more time per question than others. For example, you’ll have only around 36 seconds per question on the English section, but a whole minute per question on Math.

  • Practise

Taking a practice ACT questions allows you to familiarize yourself with the format and types of questions asked.  Schedule study time. Set aside small amounts of time for studying over an extended period.

Schedule it on your calendar so you don’t lose sight of it between homework assignments, extracurricular activities, and fun.

  • Know Your Abilities

Don’t stop progressing in your strong subjects, but be sure to spend time practicing your skills in areas where you can most improve.

  • Prioritize Answering the Easiest

Try to answer the questions you know first, even if it means jumping around. If you can prioritize answering questions you’re confident on, you’ll have more time to work out questions you don’t know.

Prioritize passages or questions that are better for you. Time spent on areas of strength can generate more points than on areas of weakness. Make sure to save time to go back to any questions you skipped. Even if you don’t know the answer, guessing is better than leaving it blank.

  • Have Positive Attitude

Always practice positive thinking attitude. Imagine yourself sitting in the quiet test room and filling in correct answers. ACT test prep materials can help you become more familiar with the test format, gain confidence and be ready on test days.

  • Facilitate Reading Speed

If you can decrease the time it takes you to read questions and understand passages, you can spend more time contemplating the answers.

Some practicing techniques that increase your reading speed is self evaluation. Other techniques are skimming, taking advantage of your peripheral vision, and focusing on important words.

Students are also advised to underline, circle, or draw arrows around (or mentally review) important concepts, main ideas, or supporting details.

Tips on ACT Reading Test

Unlike the other three sections, the reading section on the ACT has no standard curriculum. Only a lot of question practice and general reading can help you identify patterns, common idioms, phrases, etc. To improve your score on the actual test day, do the following:

  • Take your pick: skim through the paragraphs and start with the one that has a topic you find the easiest and work your way up.
  • Read smartly (active reading during the test): skim through the questions first before reading the passage. This way you’ll know some of the keywords to notice more carefully and you won’t waste time on other details.
  • Tackle unknown words: try to decipher the meanings of words in the context of the sentence. Read the previous and the next sentence to understand the overall mood and reference. Above all, don’t get intimidated by a word you are unaware of, just keep moving forward.

Tips on ACT English

Few tips to follow when attempting ACT English test are:

  • Ace the general grammar rules first. Dig out your middle school grammar books to begin with and start with revising the basics viz: subject-verb agreement, pronoun agreement, adjectives and adverbs, comparisons and superlatives, punctuation, and conjunctions.
  • Make yourself several grammar flashcards that you can skim through while traveling, idling, etc. You can also download free flashcards like the ones here and print them.
  • Remember the 4 Cs, everything should be in complete sentences, clear, concise, and consistent. Use these to eliminate answer choices whenever you don’t have a clear pick.
  • The NO CHANGE answer choice is an answer choice for a reason and at least 15-20% of questions have it as the right pick. Don’t overlook it and force a correction. This is a cardinal mistake many students make especially in the English section!

Tips on ACT Math Test

Here are the top 3 ACT test tips for math based on real feedback from tutors and ACT aspirants:

  • Pick numbers for solving algebra-led problem statements. For example, in the question below, you could pick any value for ‘x’ (except for 0, of course) and see which answer choice gives you the same value for both sides of the equation
  • ACT test-taking tipsAce the basics to save time. Brush up the following to score easily and fast on the algebra and geometry questions:
    • The 30-60-90 and 45-45-90 rules for triangles
    • The common Pythagorean triplets like 3:4:5, 5:12:13, etc. and their multiples
    • Algebraic identities
  • Don’t make the silly mistake of copying numbers incorrectly while attempting questions. This type of silly mistake alone causes several students to miss out on precious raw points! Practice is the key to avoid making this mistake on the test day. After taking a mock ACT test, always analyze your math silly mistakes carefully and note the repetition frequency and pattern

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