How to ace the ACT

How to ace the ACT

By Tate Watson, Staff Writer

On Wednesday April 23rd the halls will be more somber than they usually are, due to the numerous tests that will be taking place (ACT for juniors and PLAN for the lowerclassmen). Instead of kids lounging around four corners before class, they’ll be rushing to find a pencil sharpener that will make their five number two pencils as sharp as can be. Instead of waiting in line for breakfast, students will be waiting to see what classroom they’ll be placed in to start the test. This nervous environment could be a stressful one but if you follow these tips, you’ll be able to walk into school on Wednesday confident and excited to take and ace the ACT.

1. Know the layout of the exam

No matter how smart you are, if you don’t know exactly what the test is asking for you’ll be stumbling around on test day. Save time on the actual test by taking practice ACT tests online so you can memorize the instructions and know the general layout of what will come up when.

2. Use your test booklet as scratch paper

The ACT gave you so much white space in the text booklet for a reason- use it! On the math and science sections use the space in between the questions and in the margins to write out and solve the problems. Drawing graphs and pictures can help you to better figure out how to come up with an answer and you’ll have your work saved if you need to go back and check your answer later.

3. Read graphs first

While this goes against the age old tip to read the example, story, or graph first and then look at the questions- go the opposite route for the science section of the ACT. The science section is less about what you know about science and more about how you can read graphs and tables. Read the questions first and then look at the graph to find the answer. This gives you time to understand exactly what they’re asking for and interpret the graph in the right way to find the answer.

4. Don’t leave answers blank!

Unlike the SAT, on the ACT no wrong answer can count against you. Take advantage of this and try to answer as many questions possible. On the questions that you don’t have an answer for, try and narrow your choices down to the top two possible answers and make an educated guess from there. Also, if you’re getting down to the last two minutes of one section and you still have six questions to answer don’t leave them blank! If you don’t have time to guess, just bubble in your favorite letter- you have a better chance of getting it right if you put an answer in compared to just leaving it blank.

No matter how much you study, the best way to feel prepared and ready for the test is to get a good night’s sleep and eat a well balanced breakfast in the morning. By going into the test with the right attitude and mental capacity, you’ll be sure to test to the best of your ability.