What I Wished I Had Known When Studying For The ACT...

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. No one has explained to them the significance of the test or what they can do to prepare for it. When you study, learn how many questions are in each section and roughly how much time you will have for each question. You should read the introduction to each section. The test writers have to include an explanation but by no means should you ever waste time on this during the testing period.

Also, I found it very helpful to categorize the questions. For example, in the math section I knew that there were x amount of questions for geometry and x amount of questions for algebra. And then maybe I found a couple of formulas that I had seen consistently and I wrote those down.

2. Practice makes perfect. This saying was never more applicable than on the ACT. This test was built to challenge how fast you can do fairly standard problems in a given time frame. It was made to be studied for! Therefore, the most difficult part of the entire test is working under a time constraint.

The most helpful thing I did was take timed practice test. Imagine, suddenly the timer goes off and you are only halfway through the section when you realize that you spent 12 minutes on one question that you are not even sure you got right! Don't do that! So, invest in a couple of old ACT practice tests. Then invest in a timer. Then invest the time. It is hard to set aside time where you can't be distracted by anything, but I guarantee that if you don't learn to focus now then you won't be able to focus for the three or four hours of constant questions.

3. You are your best teacher. I tried studying with other students and even tutors. This was definitely the most unhelpful thing I did. You know where you need to work and you know what you need to study! Train yourself to work on the hard spots!

4. Use your time wisely. I know that sounds so cliché. We all know we should remove distractions and plan ahead. These elements are definitely part of using your time wisely, but I am talking more about taking your spare time to help you study. If you need to go to a doctor's appointment and you know he is always a half hour late then grab whatever study guide you are using and make the most of those minutes. Later, when you come to the time you have set aside for studying you will realize that you have already learned a couple of key concepts and you have given yourself a couple extra hours. Wahoo!

5. Set a goal, a.k.a. know what test score you want to achieve. If you have something to work towards then you will know how much studying you have left to do to achieve those goals. You also work better on a positive, goal-oriented mindset!

I wish you all the best of luck!

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M JONES's Test Prep Summary
Took the test in 2011.
Studied 40 hours and thought it was the right amount.
Was very satisfied with their score.
Studied using Cracking The ACT from The Princeton Review and rated 3 stars out of 5
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