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09/04/2019

tips on the ACTs?

QUESTION
tips on the ACTs?
what are some tips on preparing yourself for the ACT test.

ANSWER
Here are a few useful tips for preparing for the ACT. This was my method of preparation, and I got a 33.

First and foremost, never go into the exam without buying prep books! My personal suggestion would be the “Barron’s 2007 ACT (14th Edition)” book. It’s easily available at any of your local book-stores, or if you don’t feel like shelling out the money, you can rent an older version from your local library. It’s relatively cheap, covers extensively each section of the ACT exam, and goes through what you need to know for each section. If you divide your time wisely, dedicate at least a few days or a week for each section (Math, Reading, English, and Science). Make sure to take the practice exams that the book provides. Give yourself plenty of time to study.

By personal experience, I find that the Barron’s book is a bit harder than the actual exam. However, it really improves your score if you practice with harder material. Using an easy book gives you a false sense of security on the day of the exam, and your score will suffer the consequences. The Barron’s book covers most of the same content that you will see on the exam, just a little bit more thought-consuming and challenging. Don’t be discouraged if you score poorly in the practice tests provided in this book, though! This is expected.

I also suggest purchasing the ACT Online Review. It’s worth the money, and it’s like getting answers from the Blue Book itself. You’ll get very familiarized with the type of questions you’ll see on the test and it is almost the exact format of questions that you’ll see. This review covers almost everything you might see on the exam, but it is a bit easy. I would suggest taking a challenging book side by side to keep on the edge. This program has several full length practice tests and one small diagnostic test to find your weaknesses in each section. It also has an automatically-graded essay portion.

I especially find that the two essays provided in the ACT Online Review site are pretty much exactly in the format of the actual ACT test essays.

Most importantly, make sure you take the exam at a stretch. You’ll find that it’s easier to take the exam section by section with long breaks in between, and your score may seem great. But it really challenges your mental stamina if you take the exam at 3 hour stretches of time, and try to time yourself. The exam is 3 hours long, and it will wear you down! By the time you get to the Science part of the exam, which is the very last part, you will be virtually brain dead from so long of a testing. The test isn’t neccesarily hard, just highly consuming mentally. They do this on purpose, so focus on the Science exam and answering those questions quickly. There is a chance you will not finish this part, so in that case, just answer “C” for every question you leave blank. You are NOT penalized for guessing on the ACT.

The day before the test, get a good night’s sleep and have a good breakfast. Just prepare a little bit each week and you should be just fine.

Good luck!