ACT Study Tips
The ACT is an entrance exam used by most colleges and universities to make admissions decisions. Traditionally, it is a multiple-choice, pencil-and-paper test. This year, the Arizona Department of Education is utilizing the ACT as part of their annual state-mandated testing and all testing completed within the school day will be completed via web-based programs.
The purpose of the ACT is to measure a high school student’s readiness for college and to provide colleges with a common data point for comparing all applicants. College admissions officers will review standardized test scores alongside your high school GPA, letters of recommendation, extracurricular activities, and personal essays.
Overall, the higher you score on the ACT, the more options for attending and paying for college will be available to you. So, let’s take a look at a few ACT study tips and tricks for earning your best score possible.
1. Find an ACT prep course
Using an ACT prep course is one way to increase your chance of a better score the first time. Below are links to credible ACT prep courses.
2. Pinpoint Your Weaknesses and Focus your Attention There
The ACT consists of an English, Math, Reading, Science, and an optional Writing section. The state of Arizona will be facilitating in the Writing Section of the ACT. Using practice tests, find where you struggle the most and then focus your ACT study time there. Then, plan to address those areas first on test day to best utilize your allotted time.
3. Plan Out a Reasonable ACT Study Schedule
Testing takes place for a small window at the beginning of April. This gives you a little over two weeks to study. Make sure you know your ACT test date and attend on that day. The ACT starts at a specific time, so we ask that you be at school early and complete the test to the best of your abilities.
Tips for taking the ACT
1. Work questions out of order.
Before you begin answering questions, read through the whole section and decide which questions to do now, later, or never. “Do now” questions are those you confidently know the answer to or know how to complete. “Do later” questions are those that look more tricky, but you think you have a shot at answering correctly. “Do never” questions are those you have no idea how to do, BUT that doesn’t mean you leave it blank (see number 3!) just that you should not waste valuable time trying to solve it.
2. Find the wrong answers.
A major factor in a great test score isn’t just knowing the information, but knowing how to test well. Multiple-choice tests offer the advantage of providing the correct answer right there on the page. However, the ACT hides the correct answer behind the wrong ones. If you’re able to eliminate answers you know are definitely wrong, it can make the correct answer more obvious and increase your likelihood of making the right choice.
3. Answer every question.
There is no penalty for wrong answers on the ACT, so you should never leave any question blank. When you guess on “do never” questions, pick your favorite two-letter combo of answers and stick with it. For example, always choose A/F or C/H. If you’re consistent, you’re more likely to pick up points than by choosing a random letter answer each time.
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