ACT tips

Read this article to find out about the most helpful ACT tips and tricks to maximize your score at the test. Needless to say, many students are afraid of entrance exams. However, passing the exam successfully is not only about knowledge and skills, but also about strategy.

We have prepared all the necessary information you need to know to get the best scores on your ACT.

ACT study tips

Tip 1. Focus on your soft spots

If you are looking to get some important ACT test tips before the exam, here is our best recommendation: a day or two before the test, take the time and pay attention to your weaknesses. Write down all the questions and topic areas you doubt about and analyze the list. Try to dig deeper into the topic and make sure you get more information to learn and remember.

Tip 2. Practice, practice, practice

There is nothing more effective than practice. Try to imagine yourself already passing the real ACT exam. Sit down at your desk, remove all the hints and notes. Time your answers, and don’t get distracted. By doing this, you’ll get used to the test format faster and avoid extra stress throughout the exam.

Tip 3. No cramming the day before the test

The idea behind the ACT is to test your knowledge you acquired throughout your high school studies, so there is no point in cramming. Remember: you can’t catch up in one day. Trying to remember tons of information right before the test day will give you nothing but a lot of stress. The best thing you can do is relax, eat something tasty, take a nap, or watch a movie.

ACT preparation tips

Tip 1. Use your imagination to stay calm

There are different stress triggers, and feeling stress during the exam is quite common. If you feel very nervous in the testing room, try doing these things to calm down. To alleviate anxiety, imagine that you have already passed the ACT exam. You are leaving the testing room, feeling calm and relaxed. Positive thinking does work, and this simple yet effective visualization technique will help you reduce the level of stress immediately.

Tip 2. Make sure you know all about the format of the exam

Before the test day, make sure to find out everything you need to know about the ACT. You should be familiar with the structure and requirements regarding each section of the test. Before the test begins, you will already know what to expect – that’s your 50% of success in passing the ACT. If you follow these quick ACT tips and know the format beforehand, you will have more time to answer the questions.

Tip 3. Keep to your schedule

Nothing can be more important than feeling well on the test day. Make sure that you stick to your daily routine the day before the test. Avoid going to bed too late or too early before the test; avoid junk food, energy drinks, and alcohol. Maintaining your regular schedule is the best thing to save your nerves before the ACT.

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Last minute ACT tips

Tip 1. Answer the questions out of order

If you come across a question that you can answer right away – answer it! Don’t waste your time trying to answer the questions you doubt about, as you might end up losing time. You may go back to them later when all the other questions have already been tackled.

Tip 2. Stick with your first answer

It often happens that your first answer is the correct answer. For this reason, we suggest changing your answers only if you know for sure you made a mistake. These ACT Test taking tips will help you improve your score.

Tip 3. Consider the wrong answers too

If you encounter a difficult question you don’t know the correct answer to, just try to guess it. Try to cross out the variants that are 90-100% wrong. By doing this, you will be more likely to find the right ones.

Tip 5. Be attentive when reading the questions

Pay special attention to this ACT test day tip to get yourself prepared for this section. Take your time to read each question carefully. Nerves often play tricks on students: they hurry and read the questions very fast. In fact, there are some tricky sentences that bring the main idea in the end. So, it’s always important to read the questions from beginning to end to understand what you are being asked about.

Tip 6. Never write notes on your answer sheet

Your ACT answer sheet is analyzed by a machine that can’t assess whether it is a correct answer, a stray mark, or a careless doodle in the margin. Make sure your page is clear, and there are no stray marks or anything unnecessary. Be careful while marking the answers on your paper sheet – it is important to follow the guidelines precisely.  

Tip 7. Keep calm and don’t get stressed

The most important tips for taking the ACT is that you should stay calm and keep your head clear throughout the exam. For those students who often feel anxiety at testing – you need to calm yourself down. This way, you will be able to avoid making mistakes due to stress and inattentiveness, especially if you are running out of time. Don’t let it happen to you!

Tip 8. Take breaks between the sections

The list of the tips for the ACT wouldn’t be complete without this one. Remember: you’ll have 2 breaks during the test: the first one goes between Math and Reading, and the second one between Science and the essay. Make sure to use your breaks wisely. That means you can eat some snacks, go to the bathroom or drink some water. This will help you clear your mind and get more energy for the rest of the exam.

Here is more about ACT test length

Tip 9. Re-read all your answers

There are some more ACT test day tips to follow. Sometimes you may have some time left at the end of the test. Use it to go back and check all of your answers to make sure you didn’t skip anything and filled in all the bubbles on your sheet. Don’t worry – you won’t be penalized for wrong answers, so it’s always a good idea to get back to the questions you skipped and try to guess the right answer. Sometimes it works!

Tips by Sections

English Tips
  • find the choice with all of the important information for the sentence to make grammatical sense(nothing extra);
  • read all the paragraph first;
  • double-check before you choose "No Change" as the correct point;
  • for organization questions, choose the answer that best leads into the first sentence of the text passage.
ACT Math Tips
  • do not rely too heavily on your calculator;
  • double check your calculations;
  • pay attention for "trap" answers: oddball answers, obviously too big or too small;
  • pay attention to diagrams, they usually give a lot of clues.
ACT Reading Tips
  • try to read all passages as efficiently as possible for you;
  • start from the topic area that is the most comfortable for you:( Prose fiction/literary narrative, Social science, Humanities, Natural science);
  • eliminate incorrect answers;
  • take short notes.
ACT Science Tips
  • write notes while reading a passage;
  • very often, technical details and terms have no relation to the correct answers, so don't be confused;
  • remember that the science section is more reading than science;
  • also remember that the science section is more about data interpretation and logical reasoning, than about knowing any complicated science.

After the test

Tip 1. Remember: You can cancel your scores

If you know there were some issues during the ACT test, and you feel worried about your results, you can always cancel them. Still, you should think about it twice, maybe you got nervous, and everything is not as bad as it may seem. However, if you are sure that the re-pass is inevitable, make sure you know how the process is held.

Tip 2. Remember: you can take the test again

The last of the tips for the ACT exam is the most encouraging one. If you feel like something went wrong on the test, don’t get upset, you can take the test again. Of course, you can do this many times, but it’s better to take sufficient time to prepare and pass the test at once than to waste time on it in the future.