While there is no secret formula to achieving a perfect ACT score, there are little tricks here and there that can result in an increased score. There are many act tips out there, and all vary. What can help you get your perfect score might be different for everyone, but these tips for the act are sure to give you an advantage. So, without further ado, here are our tips to help you get the act top score you deserve.
Before we go any further, here are some things we have already established. At least a week before the exam, you should ensure that you are:
If this isn’t the case, check out some of our other articles to have a better understanding of the test format, or building a sleep schedule! Now that’s out of the way, here are some quicker act test-taking strategies:
Trust yourself. The ACT is a stressful test. Doubt is an easy way to eat up your time and fog up your brain. It might sound silly, but a little confidence can go a long way. In fact, one study found a correlation between test performance and confidence on a cognitive study. Though correlation does not equal causation, maintaining a positive attitude will still help with timing and trusting yourself. So, build that confidence!
Before the test starts, you should have an idea of how you are going to tackle said test. This can come in an assortment of ways. For instance, choose which answer choice is going to be your guessing answer choice. This is in case you don’t know an answer. Statistically speaking, you are much more likely to score correctly on a randomly guessed question if you consistently use the same answer letter. If you keep switching them up, you might miss all of them. So stick with one– whether it is A, B, C, or D, doesn’t matter. Just stick to this answer choice for all of your guesses. Reserve these answers solely for when you truly have no idea what the answer is.
Pressure can be a lot to handle. Ever been in a test, where suddenly, you come across a question you don’t know? You glance down at the answers. Oh no. None of them make sense. Quickly, you stare at the clock. The sound of pencils scratching against paper grates in your ear. It is all too overwhelming. With so much to focus on, you can feel yourself buzzing in and out. In a panic, you contemplate switching your style. Maybe if you start from the back instead of the beginning now, it’ll be better. No, maybe if you read the questions first, NOW it will work better. In a frenzy, you start trying to think of another way out.
Does this scenario sound nightmarish? Maybe. But all you have to do is just take a deep breath and remind yourself: it is just a test. You are going to be okay. The only way out of it is through it. The ACT is well-known for its high pressure. Even still, don’t backtrack. The test might make you doubt yourself, or might make another approach appear appealing. However, stick to what you planned upon. If prior to the test, you decided to do each question after the passage, then stick to that.
Why does it matter? Changing up your entire strategy during the test is a great way to start panicking. At the very least, if you totally realize that you need to change your strategy, make sure it is for good reason. It should be another strategy that you have worked with in the past, and the change should be quick and efficient to avoid losing time.
While these general tips are helpful, it doesn’t stop there. Here are some bonus tips for other sections.
Look for the shortest, most specific answer. I often notice with students who struggle with this section, that they don’t know what it is that they are looking for. Do they choose the fluffiest, longest, most elaborate answer? Or what about the shortest answer? Here is the example I use. You want to match the tone and voice of the piece. For instance, if the passage sounds like this:
With a furtive glance, she sighed,walking across the moors. The soft and delicate layers of tulle slipped over the ground, practically floating. Ribbons of soft pinks and oranges floated across the sky. The forest animals were __________.
This passage sounds quite flowery. There is a lot of imagery being used, and the words are rather elaborate and eloquent. Notice how it feels when you read it. There’s not a lot of short, punchy sentences. Instead, it ebbs and flows softly. It is soft. So, it would be really weird if we filled in the sentence with something like:
The forest animals were just straight chilling.
Oh, but maybe you say that’s obvious. It doesn’t match the tone of the rest of the sentences. So we rule that out. But wait, does this sound much better?
The forest animals were sitting in a brown place.
Well, this one is a bit vague. What is a brown place? Is it next to her? Even though this is the shortest, it is extremely unclear what is happening here. Hm. What if we do something like this:
The forest animals were sitting mere yards away, staring into the distance with a shimmering expression that no one could really quite explain, especially not the woman.
Wow. Well, this one is rife with description. In fact, so much that it is taking up the page. Look at all that space being used up. It doesn’t really match the sentences. Instead, it overpowers them. How about something like this:
The forest animals were sitting across from her, staring curiously.
Notice how THIS answer looks. It matches the tone. The description matches the amount of description within the piece. It is not so vague that we don’t know what is going on. So for this ACT hack, look for the most precise and concise answer.
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