Scoring high on the ACT® can be difficult no matter how much you study, and just simply studying for the ACT like you would other tests isn’t enough. It’s important that to do your best, you learn strategies and overall concepts in order to do well.
Hopefully you have been studying and taking practice tests for at least three months prior to taking the test. If so, then you have learned a lot of important concepts, strategies, and information that can be overwhelming. Rely on those strategies that you learned and perhaps even do a quick refresher a week or so before taking the actual test. Also, because the ACT doesn’t deduct points for wrong answers, be sure that you answer every question on the test.
- Read each sentence carefully when picking out sentence errors, and recognize when a word sounds out of place. If you can’t tell by the way the sentence sounds, look for errors between the verb and its subject, pronoun and sentence structure errors, as well as awkwardness, unnecessary verbosity, and incorrect use of idioms.
- Recognize the style, tone, and emphasis that a text should convey.
- Examine each of the multiple choice answers and figure out if one differs from another.
- Reread all questions that ask you to fill-in-the-blank with your selected answer to make sure it sounds right in your head.
- For passages without an underlined section, it can sometimes help to read the answers first so that you have an idea of what to look for.
- Be sure that you have scratch paper and an approved calculator.
- Solve the problem and move on. If you are unsure of an answer, jot a note of that question and if you have time at the end of the test, go back and review.
- The problems will generally focus on mathematical reasoning, rather than performing calculations. So, make sure you answer the question that is actually asked.
- Learn how to approach mathematical concepts rather than solving specific problems.
- If all else fails, try plugging in multiple choice answers and work backwards.
- Read each passage carefully and focus on understanding the big ideas of each section.
- Look for connections between passages.
- Take notes as you read and mark the main ideas.
- Preview, read, and review each section.
- Focus on what is being measured, relationships between variables, and trends in data.
- Don’t let irrelevant data or technical jargon let you lose focus.
- Take note of conflicting viewpoints in each passage.
- Outline your response before writing it so that you are organized.
- Include an introduction, supporting paragraphs, and a conclusion. Four or five well-written paragraphs is a good number.
- Make sure that you read and answer all prompt material and viewpoints.
- What are the implications of what you are saying, and why is your argument important?
- Read over your essay and correct any mistakes in grammar, usage, punctuation, spelling, etc., and make any corrections between the lines, not in the margins.
Also, take some time to relax the night before the test and have confidence in yourself that you will do well. Stress is a major factor in forgetting core concepts and making mistakes where you have not otherwise. Go to a movie, hang out with friends, or go out to eat to help take your mind off the test. Just be sure to get enough sleep the night before the test so that your brain is fully functional when you take the test.