Getting a good ACT is something many students desire but do not achieve due to lack of preparation. As a teacher I have had many students not comprehend the importance of the ACT or SAT and loose scholarships or not be admitted to his or her “dream college due to a poor score.
One mistake many students make is the failure to comprehend the importance of the ACT. Many students believe that the test is not a big deal and may even delay taking the test. There is no limit on the number of times a student may take the test. According to ACT the composite scores of 55% of students who retook the exam improved. One suggestion I give my students is to take the tests either in the spring or summer of their junior year. This gives them time to retake the test to get a better score if needed.
A test preparation book, software or course is also helpful. There are several test preparation materials available through ACT’s website http://www.actstudent.org/testprep/index.html. Several of the items free including practice test questions. Books and software are cheaper than a test prep course. One problem with books and software is that many students lack the motivation to actually use the books or software. Many students wait until the last minute and then attempt to learn everything in one night. Set aside some time several days a week at least two three months before the test to work through test prep material. Begin by taking either a pre-test or practice test. Concentrate on the areas in which you are weakest.
On the night before the test get a good night’s sleep. The day before the test collect your admission ticket, id, pencils and calculator. A valid driver’s license, school or work id, or passport are acceptable forms of id. See http://www.actstudent.org/faq/answers/id.html for a listing of other acceptable forms of id. Be sure to have several sharpened No. 2 pencils. Mechanical pencils are not allowed. Calculators are allowed for the mathematics portion of the test. Check the listing of permitted calculators to ensure that your calculator is allowed. http://www.actstudent.org/faq/answers/calculator.html. Having things ready the night before will make getting to the testing center on time easier. It is a good idea to arrive at least 15 minutes early to the testing center.
There are several things to remember when taking the test. First of all relax. Do you best but do not stress over the test. Do not spend too much time on any one question. Answer the easiest questions first. Then go back answer the ones that are just a little harder. Skip the questions that are too hard. Keep going back through the test until all the questions are answered. There is no penalty for guessing so be sure to answer all questions. When the time gets down to 2 minutes left answer any remaining questions with B or C. One strategy that works well for multiple choice tests it to eliminate answers that you know are incorrect. This increases your chances of getting the correct answer. For the writing portion of the exam remember that you will have only 30 minutes to respond to the prompt. Be sure to and carefully follow the instructions on the cover of the booklet. It is important that opening paragraph clearly demonstrates that you understand the issue. Use specific examples when possible. Stay on topic.
While the ACT is important do not stress out over it. Prepared, do your best and relax.