10 Insanely Useful ACT Study Tips, Tricks, and Test Taking Strategies
ACT is a challenging test due to the impact the scores carry on college admission potential. The test is hard because it is time-constrained, and you have three hours and 25 minutes to attempt 215 questions. Some questions are more complex and take longer to answer, and this leaves students feeling that they could have used some additional time.
Equally, the test is difficult because of the amount of reading and concentration required. You will find long reading passages, wordy math problems, and complex science questions. Over the years, as students perform better, the ACT difficulty level has been adjusted, and ACT has become complicated.
Here are top 10 expert ACT tips and test taking strategies that will help improve your ACT score.
Top 10 ACT Tips for Studying and Testing Strategies
Here is our list of the best study tips for the ACT that you can use to ace the ACT test.
Tip #1 – Multiple-choice strategies – eliminate incorrect answers first
Use the process of elimination as your principal technique for addressing challenging or complex questions on every part of the ACT. This links into the ACT reading fundamental rule, which states that there is only one entirely accurate answer for each question—the others can be removed based on evidence in the chapter.
Trying to choose the correct answer out of a hat is riskier than using the process of elimination. Instead of looking for reasons why a decision might work, look for reasons to exclude it. This will allow you to be more selective about which answer you bubble in and prevent you from believing that more than one option is accurate. Remove any answer choices that have even the tiniest item out of order!
Tip #2 – Read the entire question before answering
You should not assume you understand what is required of a question until you’ve read it from beginning to end. Students will occasionally give an answer they remember from a comparable question on a practice test, which might be wrong. Carefully read each question’s words before you pick your answer.
Tip #3 – Answer quick and easy questions first
First, answer the questions for which you are certain you have the correct answer. Make a mark next to each question you skip in your exam booklet so you can conveniently find it later. Return to the more difficult questions after you’ve answered all of the easier ones.
You don’t have to answer the questions in order, and you can start with easier ones instead of trying to answer the questions in order. You can make the decision quickly by scanning the quiz to determine if you can attempt it. You should know topics you are not good at and avoid wasting too much time on questions from such topics and maximize on your strong areas. You can come back later to do the questions.
Tip #4 – Time management
Because there is a time limit for finishing the test, do not spend a lot of time on any one question. Limit yourself to 1–2 minutes for the more difficult questions and around 10–20 seconds for the easier ones. The ACT test is made up of a series of 4-5 timed mini-tests.
Keep track of how much time is left in each part, so you don’t have to rush to finish each test at the last minute. If you don’t know an answer to a question, you can mark it and then come back to it later. In order to keep track of time, it is vital to bring your own stopwatch.
Tip #5 – Create a unique test
it is vital to create a strategy for each ACT section since the requirements for each section are different. Therefore tackle each section differently. However, a general strategy is knowing the ideal way to bubble in to avoid the back and forth and chances of a wrong bubble.
Try working a page at ago on Math and English sections and a passage at a given time for the science and Reading sections. You can circle the right answers on the booklet and later transfer the answers once to the answer sheet. But always follow tips for answering each section.
Tip #6 – Don’t cram for the test
There’s no sense in cramming for the ACT because it tests you on the knowledge you’ve gained during your high school years. Cramming won’t help you recall everything since it will be challenging to all the info. It is preferable to study over time rather than starting cramming on the day before the test.
Relax the day before the test by watching a movie and getting a good night’s sleep. Staying up late cramming the night before the test will just stress you out and make you exhausted the next day.
Tip #7 – Don’t change your answers
If you’re not sure if you made a mistake, don’t change your replies. Your first answer is more than likely to be correct. Statistics show that you are more likely to choose the correct answer on your first try. When second-guessing yourself, the chances are that you will overthink things and come up with an inaccurate answer.
Tip #8 – Answer every question
Always attempt all questions since there is no penalty for a wrong answer in the ACT. You should answer them even if it means guessing if you meet difficult questions that you are not sure of the answer. Always make an educated guess.
The strategy is to eliminate most of the multiple-choice answers that you see as incorrect to remain with the most logical alternative(s) from which you can pick one. Interestingly any response is preferable to none at all.
Tip #9 – Have a guessing letter- When in doubt, choose answer B.
When making a random guess, you should have your guessing letter, let’s say “B.” there is a misconception that a specific letter will always be the best answer when guessing built that is not always the case.
Choosing your guessing letter out of A, B, C, D, or the other letters gives you a 25% chance of getting it correct. So instead of leaving a question blank, have a guessing letter to use on test day. Statically “B” is considered the right answer more than others.
Tip #10 – Check Your Calculator
This is one of the most overlooked tips because it has nothing to do with studying or test taking strategies, but more students get stumped with tip than the others.
Make sure you calculator is ACT approved. If you bring a calculator to your test center and it’s not approved, they won’t let you use it. That can be a big problem because it will slow you down on the math section and you will probably not be able to perform some of the problems.
Plus, the last thing you want on exam day is a surprise. Don’t let this happen to you. Make sure your calculator is ok to bring to the ACT test.