It is important to start learning ACT test prep tips well in advance of taking the ACT. The ACT is a college admission test that colleges all over the United States use to help determine who gets admitted and who gets scholarships. If you want to be one of those students, take some time to look over these ACT test prep tips and master them.
Tip 1: Take the PLAN test
The PLAN test is basically the Pre-ACT. If you do well on it, you’re in good shape for doing the same on the ACT. If you don’t do well, you still get valuable experience on how the test works, and you learn what the testing environment and the time pressure are like. These are all good indicators of how the real ACT will be, so the test prep is valuable.
Tip 2: Study ACT Test booklet/Test Prep Materials
If you are serious about doing well on the ACT, you really have to examine everything about the test beforehand: the types of questions, the allotted time for each section, the different subjects, and techniques for getting the right answer. On the ACT, the English section is 45 minutes, the Math section is 60 minutes, the Reading section is 35 minutes, and the Science test is 35 minutes as well. You’ll need to practice completing as many questions as you can within these time limits. Luckily, unlike the SAT, the order of the subjects is known already, so at least you won’t be taken by surprise.
Tip 3: Learn the Rules
There are certain differences in the format for the ACT compared to the SAT, so you should keep these in mind as part of your test prep. One difference is the fact that the questions have 4 answers instead of 5, and another is that you aren’t penalized for guessing. That means that not only are your odds improved on each question compared to the SAT, but you also can guess without worrying whether you’ll have points deducted. This doesn’t mean you should just haphazardly guess, but even on questions that you’re unsure about, you can comfortably choose an answer and not have to agonize over the decision of whether to risk points or not. Also, you should practice techniques to improve your efficiency and speed on each section, and never work on any one question for more than a minute. Remember, every question is worth the same point value, so even if you answered the hardest question right, it’s still just one point.
Tip 4: Do Practice Tests and “Questions of the Day”
The best way to get better at something is to practice. Therefore, doing some ACT test prep by taking practice tests is a very good idea. When you do, make sure it is as close to actual test conditions as possible. That way, you’ll be pretty confident that you can maintain or improve on your performance when test day comes. After you’re done with the practice test, don’t stop there. Figure out why you did poorly where you did, what type of questions baffled you, and where you ran out of time. For more practice and to keep your skills up, search for “ACT Questions of the Day” and do a few each day.
Tip 5: Focus on Improving Your Weakest Subject(s)
On practice tests, I consistently did nearly perfect on the English section of the ACT, and reasonably well on the Reading and Math sections, but my Science section score was always dramatically lower. Unfortunately, I despised the Science section and didn’t want to practice it. When I got back my official ACT test scores, the Science section was a full 7 points lower than the next lowest subject score, and it really pulled down my average. The moral of the story: If you’re already doing well on a subject, give it a rest and focus on the subjects and topics that are giving you the hardest time. This doesn’t mean you should never practice your stronger subjects, but it does mean that your composite score can be hurt much more by not improving the weak scores than it can be helped by getting an extra one or two points on your strongest subject.
Tip 6: Practice, Practice, Practice!
This is pretty much a rehash of all of the other tips, but it is the most important thing you can do to really prepare for the ACT. All the voodoo and black magic tricks you can muster won’t be as helpful to you on test day as knowing what to expect, refreshing your memory on old math concepts, learning techniques to maximize your efficiency, and bringing up your weak subject scores. Keep these tips in mind as you practice.I hope you get your “act” together and ace your ACT!