The purpose of the ACT is to predict how well you will do in college by measuring your skills in grammar, science reasoning, reading comprehension, and math. However, like all tests, it also measures your test taking abilities. The more you understand the content covered on the test as well as strategies for answering test questions, the better you will do.
The ACT is not an intelligence test. A high ACT score doesn’t make you a brain: a low score doesn’t make you a bonehead.
The ACT does test how well you have prepared. Just as some people are natural athletes, some are natural test takers – they somehow learn along the way how to get top scores. But even for natural test takers, practice and preparation can help you perform at a level consistent with your true abilities.
Preparation for the ACT can make a big difference in your scores – and where you go to college.
Strategies for the ACT
Good reading habits, knowledge of the rules of grammar, and strong math skills will help you get a good score on the ACT. When you take the ACT, the following strategies can make a big difference in your scores:
- Pace Yourself
- Read Each Question Carefully
- Answer the Easy Questions First
- Use Logic in Your Work
- Answer Every Question
Although the time limits for each section are set to provide nearly everyone with enough time to finish, keep a close-track of the time you have throughout the test. Many students experience difficulty finishing the Science Reasoning and Reading sections of the test before time runs out.
Make sure you understand specifically what the question requires you to do and that the answer you select addresses the question directly. Note that some questions may require that you perform several steps before determining the correct answer.
Although the questions in most sections are not in order of difficulty, first answer the questions that seem easy to you and mark and skip over the more difficult questions. Answer the difficult questions with the time you have remaining.
Remember, easy and difficult questions all are worth the same number of points. If you are going to run out of time or have difficulty maintaining your concentration, it is best to get all the points you can on the easier questions.
The ACT is not considered to have as many „tricks and traps“ as the SAT. Correspondingly, if you can determine an answer directly, do so. If you cannot, eliminate those answers that cannot be correct and select from the remainder.
There is no penalty for guessing. NEVER leave an answer blank on your answer sheet, even if you are guessing.