“ACTing” on ACT Prep | 5 Tips to UP YOUR SCORE

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Take it from me – ACTs are stressful, just like all those other tests you have to take; PSAT, SAT, and ACT are some of the most daunting names in the standardized test business. The ACT is 50% English (reading half and writing half), 25% Science, and 25% Mathematics (up to Algebra II). Today, I’m going to run through some quick tips for high-schoolers on how to prep for the ACT test to reduce stress (or at least have a vague idea of what you’re doing).

Tip #1: STUDY!!!! Unless you’re taking it cold freshman year, please, PLEASE study. Organize study groups, look through Khan Academy, peruse your textbooks, whatever you need to do. It doesn’t have to be a solid block of two hours per night – in fact, it’d be better if you limited it to 45-minute blocks so that you didn’t overload your brain with too much information. If you know you’ve got a certain subject down cold, then just study it a little bit, or, if you’re REALLY confident, don’t study it at all. But if you struggle with something, then pore over the contents until you can recite it in your sleep. For me, English is one of the easiest things on the planet, so I’d study that less than, say, science or math.

Tip #2: This one is directed at the English reading portion of the test – READ THE ENTIRE SECTION. If the question asks you to read this essay/paragraph/whatever, READ THE WHOLE THING. If you aren’t a speed-reader, that’s fine – you have 45 minutes to answer 75 questions, so just use your time wisely. Skimming the passage is a necessary time-saver, so do that if you can catch little details with a quick glance.

Tip #3: Another English clue-in – LOOK AT ALL THE ANSWERS. With most English summation questions, there will be some long, complicated, seemingly-correct answers, and some short, concise, and to-the-point answers. Most English teachers want you to summarize in small, easily-read sentences, so the short answer will probably be your best bet.

Tip #4: This is aimed at the Mathematics section – PAY ATTENTION TO THE DIAGRAMS. Some of them have numbers stated that will quickly rule out some options, and point toward some others. Yes, there may be some distractors, but it should knock off at least one wrong answer. You’ve got 60 minutes for 60 questions.

Tip #5: Another Mathematics tip – PLUG YOUR NUMBERS IN. If you’re not entirely sure, then whip out your calculator and see if x still equals your answer once it’s plugged in. If it doesn’t, then back to the drawing board if you can spare the time.

I hope this helped, guys! Good luck on your ACT, and don’t stress too much – too much stress is bad! (Who knew, right? :p)


Meet the Writer: Emma is a sophomore, and interested in studying Education and English Studies with an emphasis in Digital Film + Screenwriting.  She has a passion for creative writing, reading, traveling, performing, and singing. When she isn’t practicing for musicals or choir, she is hanging with friends or just relaxing at home with a good book.

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