To be entirely truthful, I personally have never taken the ACT.
But I have done a chunk of research to help you out. Also, I do know that many of the study tips in our SAT section will translate over and be very useful in the ACT.
All that being said, here are a few ACT tips that you can use to help you ace the ACT!
The thing about the ACT is that it’s actually a series of a bunch of small mini-tests, each of which is timed. Make sure you keep track of time as you go through the test.
Budget ahead and find out how much time you have for each question. For example, in the English, Reading and Science Reasoning sections, you have about 30 seconds for each question. Keep a steady pace and aim for something less than that, closer to maybe 20 seconds.
Of course, you don’t have to be a slave to the exact numbers, and you don’t have to be counting down in your head the whole test – that’s why you brought a watch to the test center.
You did bring a watch, right?
Also, in regards to time, skip the hard questions at first and knock out the easy ones. Go through the test and answer all the questions that will only take a few seconds to do. Mark the ones you skip in your test book (and make sure you mark the answers in the correct spot on the answer sheet). When you’re done with the section, go back and answer the harder ones, budgeting the time you have left.
Know the Test
The military is all about learning stuff ahead of time – they don’t call it “Military Intelligence” for nothing… although some say that’s an oxymoron. Look at sports, too: pro teams will spend hours and hours analyzing tapes of their opponents’ games, learning all they can.
Why do this?
The more you know about something the more ways you know how to beat it!
How does this relate to the ACT?
The more you know about the ACT the better you are able to ace it!
You need to learn things like what kind of questions there are and what kind of concepts are covered. How do you get ahold of all this information?
Easy! Check out The Real ACT Test Guide, which is actually published by the people who make the test. It’s full of great ACT study tips and also has five full-length practice tests! These are a great way to practice for the ACT – take a practice test and closely examine your results. Then, focus on your weaknesses and turn them into your strengths!
Also, check out an article I wrote on ACT test prep for some more helpful tips.
Here’s where the ACT gets awesome for you as a test-taker. While the SAT has a ¼ point penalty for incorrect answers, the ACT has no penalty.
No penalty for wrong answers.
There’s no difference between a blank answer and a wrong answer. The ACT only scores points for correct answers in the multiple choice sections.
So! That means there’s no penalty for guessing! If you’re stuck on a problem or you’re almost out of time, guess! Worst comes to worst you get it wrong and it’s the same as if you left it blank.
If you can eliminate any of the options, even just one, well that’s even better!
Point is, you should never leave a question blank.
What do you think?
Do you have any ACT study tips to share? Join the conversation in the comments!