ACT Test Strategies - Every student should know

Take it easy:

The ACT® score is just one factor that goes into how colleges decide their admissions. We are looking to identify the areas that will improve your college and career readiness by conducting this assessment.

Test directions:

The direction for each section of the ACT never changes, so become familiar with them before you take the assessment. If you are familiar with the directions for each of the four sections of the test then it will save you time when it counts – on test day.

Unanswered questions:

ACT® does not deduct points for incorrect answers so guessing an answer comes with no penalty. So, look to eliminate irrelevant answer choices and take a guess at the best one. In English, Reading and Science you odds of guessing the answer start at 25% and increase with every choice you can eliminate and in Math your odds start at 20% and increase with every choice you can eliminate.

Pace yourself:

You should know how long you should take to answer all questions in each of the four tests and you should know how much time you should take to answer each question for one passage in English, in Reading etc. If one question is taking too long, circle the question and come back to it later. Try to identify easy questions and answer them first when possible.

Test booklet:

As you read the passage, use the margins and the passage to your advantage. Take notes if something looks important or underline it, circle facts. For math questions, draw diagrams where applicable.

Question stem:

All parts of the ACT except the math section ask you to choose the “best” answer choice. Missing a word like “except” from the question stem can lead you to answer the question incorrectly. It is easy to misread the question when you are in a hurry, hence the need to pace yourself and answer questions within the allotted time. Questions are not in any order of difficulty but if there are questions you come across that are easy, you should still answer them first. If you come across a hard question, mark it so you can skip it for now and come back to it later.

Answer choices:

Look at your notes: underlines and circles in the passage to determine the correct answer choice. When you are sure one of the choice is not correct strike it out then read the next carefully to determine which one is the best. Even if you think you know the best answer at first glance, spend the time to read the other answer choices.

Marking the answer choices:

For English, Reading and Science section, circle the answer for one passage or topic on the test booklet before transferring them over to the answer sheet. First, this will help you concentrate on choosing the right answer. Second, when you are transferring the answer to the answer sheet, it will prevent you from skipping an oval or marking the wrong oval. Finally, at the end of answering all the questions for the test, spot check a few answers to make sure you did not make a mistake when you transferred over the answer.