The ACT is a college entrance exam that many colleges and universities in the United States use as part of the college admissions process. In the ACT, students are assessed in five core areas: English, Math, Reading, Science, and Writing (optional). The validity of ACT scores is five years from the date of testing.

Preparing for the ACT can be daunting, but with the right strategies, you can improve your chances of success. The ACT test is a standardized test used for college admissions in the United States. It consists of four sections: English, Math, Reading, and Science.

Important to Know about the ACT test:

  • On test day, focus on the test rather than the section directions.
  • Get a sense of how long each section will take and how many questions will be asked.
  • Bring a watch or a timer, and set it for 5 minutes before the end time to go over all of the answers.
  •  Go over all of the questions in each section first, then circle the easy ones.
  •  If you’re not sure which answer is correct, consult the answer booklet.
  • Fill in the bubble sheet with the final answers.
  • When the machine scores the bubble sheets, ensure no marks are on them.
  • Machines, in most cases, cannot distinguish between stray marks and correct answers.

Some general strategies that can help you succeed on the ACT:

  1. Familiarize yourself with the test format: It is important to understand the structure of the test and the types of questions that will be asked in each section. The ACT website offers free practice tests and study materials.
  2. Practice time management: Each section of the ACT is timed, so it is important to practice time management strategies. Make sure to pace yourself during the test and allocate enough time for each section.
  3. Read the instructions carefully: Make sure to read the instructions carefully for each section of the test. This will help you understand the format and requirements for each section.
  4. Answer easier questions first: Start with the questions that you know how to answer easily. This will help you gain confidence and build momentum as you move on to more difficult questions.
  5. Guess intelligently: The ACT does not penalize you for guessing, so it is better to make an educated guess than to leave a question unanswered. Use the process of elimination to eliminate clearly wrong answers and then make an educated guess.
  6. Review your answers: Make sure to review your answers before you submit your test. This will help you catch any errors or mistakes you may have made and improve your score.

Helpful tips:

  • Study the direction of each ACT section and get familiar with section directions before the test. On the test, day-use your time for the test, not for section directions.
  • Get familiar with the time and number of questions in each section.
  • Bring your watch or timer and set the time 5 minutes early before the end time to review all the answers.
  • Read all the questions of each section first and mark the easy questions.
  • Use the answer booklet if you are not sure of the correct answer. Mark the final answers in the bubble sheet.
  • Avoid leaving marks on the bubble sheets as the machine scores them. Usually, devices cannot distinguish between stray marks and correct answers.
  • Fill the grid-in answers correctly and neatly in the Math Grid-in section.
  • Use #2HB pencil to fill the bubble sheet.

Strategy to answer the questions:

  • Review all the questions first in each section. 
  • Mark the easy, complex, and unknown questions. 
  • In ACTs usually, easy questions are preceded by hard questions, answer all the easy questions first. 
  • Make sure you understand the hard questions at least two or three times.
  • Manage your time while test-taking, spend a few moments on easy questions, and spend the rest time on hard questions.   
  • Eliminate the incorrect answers so you can narrow down the correct answer selection. 
  • All the questions will have only one right answer.   
  • There is no penalty for wrong answers, so Do NOT SKIP the questions and guess the correct answers. 
  • Finally, the bonus tip is usually your first response is correct.

Before the ACT Test day:

  • Plan your study time instead of cramming: The ACT tests the knowledge you’ve acquired over the course of your high school career, so cramming is pointless. Tests are designed to measure students’ ability and knowledge during academic sessions.
  • Get to know the test: Before your test date, familiarize yourself with the structure of the ACT. Learn and review the directions for each of the sections on the test during your test preparation.
  • Attempt easy questions first: First, answer the questions for which you are certain you have the correct answer. Make a mark next to each question you skip in your exam booklet so you can quickly find it later.
  • Each question on the ACT has only one correct response: Even if it appears that two correct answers exist, you can only choose one, so choose the best answer for each question.
  • Read each question carefully: Never assume you understand a question until you’ve read it from beginning to end. Students will occasionally give an answer they remember from a similar question on a practice test.
  • Practice, practice, practice: Let us say it one more time. Practice, practice, practice! There is no substitute for practice.
  • Make a timetable: Because there is a time limit for completing the test, do not spend too much time on any one question. Limit yourself to 1–2 minutes for the more difficult questions and no more than 10–20 seconds for the easier ones.

The morning of the Test Day:

  • Wake up early, and do 5 – 10 minutes of breaking exercise.
  • Take a shower to feel completely awake.      
  • Eat a healthy breakfast.
  • Leave early to reach 20 minutes before the check-in time.
  • Wear a watch or carry a clock to track the time.

What to Bring in Bag Pack:

There are only a few things you really need to bring on test day, and many things you’ll be better off leaving at home. Be sure to bring.

  • Photo ID (the driver’s license, School Id, etc.).
  • Keep the printed copy of the admission ticket.
  • #2 HB sharpened pencils, at least five pencils, and an eraser.
  • Calculator – make sure it has a new battery and is functional (can be used in the Math-calc section).
  • Water bottle or any drink as per your liking.
  • Snacks.

Smart Strategy for ACT preparation downloads a free ACT e-Book. Grade your ACT practice test bubble sheet online to get a detailed Socrato diagnostic report.

Tagged with →