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The ACT® is one of the more important placement tests that you will take in your academic career. Your scores will be used for most colleges that you apply to, as a representation of the knowledge you learned in high school. A very high score can get you a full-ride scholarship and a low score might keep you from being accepted into your first-choice college. In order to be prepared for the ACT test it is important that you begin studying well in advance.

Where is the best place to start?

It is best to start studying one to three months in advance of taking the test so that you are thoroughly prepared. There are a slew of resources that you can find both offline and online. The first place you should look at is the official ACT Test Prep, including their online prep, following their question of the day, sample test questions, and test tips and descriptions. Each of these resources will help ensure you know all of the different facets of the test, including the four multiple choice sections: English, mathematics, reading, and science, as well as the optional writing test.

Next, search for offline study guides, practice tests, and booklets that will prepare you for the test. You can typically buy new and used copies of practice tests, study questions, and test-taking tips all over the internet. Just be sure that whichever books you buy are for the newest version of the test since the test is consistently updated in order to account for colleges’ changing needs and students’ continuing success.

Also, don’t forget about test taking strategies. You may have taken timed tests throughout high school, but the ACT placement test can pose a whole new set of stressors. You will be given a certain amount of time and number of questions for each section of the test, so when you are taking practice tests, time yourself. Set your score goals and make sure that you are able to finish the test in the time allotted for the actual test.

Likewise, be sure to research online for test taking strategies and ways to reduce stress while preparing for and while taking the test. Breathing techniques, learning how to focus, study schedules, getting your baseline scores and setting realistic goals, and general test taking strategies will all prepare you well for the ACT.