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While the majority of our students await the leisure of a half day next Tuesday, our ACP Juniors are getting ready for the ACT. From intense study sessions to overloading on testing practices, many of our juniors forget to balance their routines before the test. Here are the most important strategies to ace your ACT!

The ACT covers 215 questions in 2 hours and 55 minutes, plus an optional 40-minute Writing Test. Considering that means you have less than a minute per question, the stress may arrive rapidly, and those who solely bombard themselves with practice tests may be at a disadvantage in the testing environment. In terms of relieving stress, here are the most beneficial tactics that even our most over-prepared students may have overlooked.

Before the Test

1. Wake Up Your Mind and Body

Keeping yourself alert through music and stimulating brain activities is pivotal to practicing focus for the test. The test requires diligence and fast pacing, which requires a strong and focused brain.

2. Eat a Smart Breakfast

Many breakfast foods, including eggs, eggs, nuts, yogurt, and cottage cheese, can bolster mental performance before a test. In the context of the ACT, hunger is an unnecessary distraction from the test.

3. Take a Study Break

Cramming information the day before the ACT can lead to serious repercussions in performance. Taper your studying to take a break before you take the actual test, allowing your brain to avoid fatigue and target alertness.

During the Test

1. Wrong answers still help your decision

Instead of spending extra time searching only for the right answer, weed out answers that are either obviously wrong or that you find incorrect in the passage. By eliminating as many options as possible, you’re cutting down on time spent per question and the fatigue from selecting an answer.

2. Time management

By skimming reading passages, immediately completing questions that you feel more comfortable with, and narrowing down not only questions that you’re unsure of but also incorrect answers in each question, valuable time will be saved during the test.

Math Section

1. Double check visuals to confirm your answer

Utilizing the visuals associated with a math problem can confirm or deny the answers to the question. Utilize the visuals to quickly find the answer.

2. Plug in answers to the question

For questions concerning algebraic equations, a quick path to the solution is to plug in each answer into the given equation. Not only will this save time, but be a safer method of determining an answer if you don’t fully remember the concepts needed to solve it.

Science Section

1. Rely on visuals to rationalize and select an answer

Reading and understanding visuals, especially in the science section of the ACT, is pivotal to completing the section in time. Any graphs and visuals offered are likely to provide an obvious answer to the question.

Reading Section

1. Skim the reading passages

Skimming the reading passages allows you to garner the main ideas of each passage without spending too much time drawing upon every detail. Similarly, reading the questions before the passage will cut out any unnecessary information in the passage and will cut down on time used to find a straightforward and logical answer.

2. Start with your easiest subject

The ACT reading section passages break down into four different categories. These categories are:

  • Prose fiction/literary narrative
  • Social science
  • Humanities
  • Natural science

Beginning the reading section by completing your most comfortable topic will get easy answers out of the way and allow you to focus on more difficult questions.

The ACT is often viewed as an intense and extremely stressful test, but it doesn’t have to be. By utilizing strategies to cut down on time and bolster your mental awareness before and during the test, you will feel more confident and capable during the testing session. Good luck to all of our Juniors taking the ACT!