ACT Tips From Past Test Takers

by M JONES on 6/13/2014 2:19 AM

The ACT is such a comprehensive test it is difficult to know where to start! To add to the pressure, this test is one of the few things that will affect your life for years to come, should you plan on attending college. The good news is getting a satisfying score on the ACT is completely possible! It really all comes down to how much time you are willing to study.

I spent hours and hours studying for the ACT which means I learned a lot about studying. All that studying helped me achieve a prestigious score that many universities and I were pleased with. I would like to offer five tips that I wish I had known when I first started studying.

1. Know what's coming! The people who absolutely bomb the test are not usually stupid; they are unprepared. ...

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by michelledimino on 6/13/2014 10:22 PM

The ACT is not the SAT, and the sooner you recognize that, the better! When I first set out to study for the ACT, I figured I could do it the same way I had gone about studying for the SAT, but that it wouldn't take as much time—after all, I'd basically already prepared myself for this exam too, right? Nope!

A major difference I wish I had known going into my test prep is that the timing is very different on the ACT, and in particular, the amount of content covered in each section is different (in my opinion, the ACT sections go by much faster, and the material covered is often more dense). Because of this, taking as many practice exams as possible and timing each section is really important. It's the one way to know how much content ...

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by HeidiS on 6/13/2014 10:11 PM

There are two ways to prepare for the ACT: One is to cram on your worst topic, and the other is to focus on your strengths. The second option might seem odd, but consider this: 1 point on your strongest topic is worth exactly the same as 1 point on your weakest topic. But the higher your score is on a topic, the greater effect each question has on your final score.

For example, on most tests, a 36 is a perfect score. You get a 35 if you miss one question, and a 34 if you miss two. But after that, the gaps between the different numbers become steadily wider, and they also differ between tests. The difference between a 17 and a 18 might be 5 or more questions.

So imagine you took a diagnostic test, and you got a ...

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by emily_li on 6/10/2014 7:20 PM

One of the reasons that I've always liked the ACT better than the SAT is because I think the ACT is a better representation of your actual skill level in regards to a subject of material. Consequently, it's really important to actual review the material! The first time that I took the ACT, I told myself that I didn't need to study, because either I knew it or I didn't. While that's true, if I'd studied more of the actual material that was going to be on the exam I would have known it come test day. I'd recommend getting a quality ACT test prep book and skimming through the chapters that you might feel rusty on, making sure you understand the basic concepts and brushing up on general knowledge.

Also, one thing about the ACT that's pretty radically different ...

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by oliviajv on 6/13/2014 8:17 PM

Be forewarned: timing on the ACT is nothing like timing on the SAT. Unlike the SAT (which can generally be finished on time as long as you're well prepared), you may very well find yourself unable to finish some or all of the ACT sections in the brief time allotted. SO, be prepared! The way I decided to manage the timing issue was to make sure all of my ACT study sessions were timed. I did use resources like Khan Academy, Kaplan's ACT guide, and Grockit to review fundamental concepts and to get an idea of what ACT questions look like. However, once I knew I had a basic grasp of HOW the ACT works and what kinds of questions to expect (especially in that unfamiliar science section), I started taking timed tests right way. I ...

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by fdwhite93 on 6/10/2014 4:58 PM

The ACT is similar to the SAT except this test includes a section on science and the writing prompt I came across was pretty generic. To sum up write about your personal hero and tell us why you admire them. As far as preparation goes, I suggest that you find a couple of different resources. Use a book that is well reviewed and trustworthy such as one by Princeton Review or Kaplan for times when electronics aren't accessible. Plus this will give you the benefit of a couple of paper practice tests. Software is also a good tool. I suggest one that reviews major subject areas of high school as well as offering test preparation. As far as studying, start preparing well before the test, maybe a couple of weeks and avoid cramming. Study often, at least a couple of ...

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by tkfitzsimm on 6/12/2014 3:11 AM

In today's society, there is a major push for high school students to attend college, receive a degree and make a steady income. But, the SAT/ACT can be a major hurdle. During high school, I had a prominent issue with test anxiety. So, how did I overcome this to take one of the most important exams of my life? Research. I started with reading about test strategies. Every person has a different method for studying. Some individuals may be able to binge study a few days before, others may need to just study for 30 minutes a day for a few months. For me, studying for small amounts of time, every day for months, proved to be the best method. To get in the proper mindset, I would recommend sitting down and considering what time commitment and environment are most ...

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by allisoncm on 6/15/2014 11:32 PM

I took the ACT for the first time in 2013. I made a study schedule for when I would study and what I would study out of my book, the Barron’s ACT 36 book. I found the book to be mildly helpful, and I also used different sets of vocabulary words on Quizlet to help me study. I found that sticking to my study schedule and keeping myself motivated was the most difficult, but the most rewarding, part of the studying. At some points, it was difficult to keep going because the studying, on top of working part-time and other homework, could be overwhelming, but my scores definitely reflected my perseverance.

Another thing that helped me study for the ACT was taking lots of practice tests. I found them in other study books and online, mostly. They are ...

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by cvelez on 6/16/2014 6:17 PM

Compared to my fairly impressive SAT scores, I practically flunked the ACT. Some people are better at the ACT and some people are better at the SAT. The ACT tends to attract math/science-oriented people while the SAT tends to attract writing-oriented people. My advice to you is to try both tests but don't get discouraged if one lets you down despite all your hard work. Each test has a different voice, different types of questions, and even covers different subjects. If you don't do well, relax. You can try again, or you can just try another test.

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by caf437 on 6/13/2014 5:57 PM

Some believe that the SAT and ACT are similar so you can study for both at the same time. I beg to differ. The ACT, while in some aspects, is similar to the SAT, is an entirely different animal. The ACT, in my opinion, is a bit more difficult. Particularly when it tests for mathematics, it is more advanced in comparison to the SAT because it encompasses a higher level of math (Algebra 2 & Trigonometry). The ACT writing portion is a bit different in format and in what the graders are looking for. The ACT reading comprehension portion is, in my opinion, the only aspect of the exam closest to that of the SAT.

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by ilmilmilm on 7/31/2014 9:54 PM

I chose to do both the ACT and the SAT exams – that way I could send the best of both grades to colleges. The studying you need is identical: reviewing each section’s content, doing practice questions, doing practice exams. On the other hand, the ACT is heavier on reading longer texts with tons of information. It’s essential to know how to take this to your advantage, rather than make it a time-wasting obstacle.

How can you then, sir/madam, be most effective in your studying?

… By doing really well in school. Deeply understanding Mathematics and English, as well as other subjects, naturally reduces the contents you have to learn/review and the time you need to figure out the answer to questions. You will find exercises easier if you are already familiar with them.

… By looking at what the ACT will ...

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by SabrinaGregory on 7/22/2014 2:11 AM

Prepping for the ACT is no walk in the park. It requires determination, focus and long term effort. I know this because I've been through it all. I've sat in the test room with two pencils in front of me waiting to hear the "ok" to start my test. I've already gone through my experience of spending those long hours flipping through flash cards and timing myself to become more efficient when it comes time to take the actual ACT.

What I can do now is tell you my experience studying for the ACT and share with you my, "I wish I would have.." stories so you know what to expect and how to better your testing abilities to do the absolute best you can!

For starters, I began studying a month in advance, five days a week, 2 hours a ...

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by icecream0318 on 7/14/2014 11:22 AM

# Take the ACT test 2~3 times

Since guessing doesn't cost any mark in ACT, there’s a chance of getting higher score if you’re lucky on test date. Moreover, due to lack of experience, test takers may not able to do their best in the first time. As a result, it will definitely be beneficial if you take the test more than once.

# Pick your letter of the day before the test start

Time limit is, needless to say, the biggest challenge of the ACT test. So, when you've done all the questions you know, fill the bubble in the answer sheet with your letter of the day because there’s no penalty in guessing. It will be too late if you pick it during the test.

# Do not panic even if you don’t know the answer

I was doing my last passage in ...

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Getting the Score you want! - Prepping for the ACT is no walk in the park. It requires determination, focus and long term effort. I know this because I've been through it all. I've sat in the test room with two pencils in front of ...

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