ACT Test Taking Tips


You’ve spent hours and hours preparing, you’ve taken some practice ACT tests and you’ve worked with your classmates, tutors and teachers to prepare for one of the most important tests you will ever take.  Even the most prepared students can falter on the day if they don’t have a good ACT test writing plan.  Knowing what to expect and having a clear plan of action is the best way to ensure success.

Get A Good Night’s Sleep
I know you think that using those extra hours to cram in everything you can is the best use of your time, but it isn’t.  When you are sleep-deprived and tired, your higher brain functions start to shut down.  Tired students are more likely to misread questions, make mistakes, and find it difficult to come up with solutions to complex questions.  You must try to get at least eight hours of sleep before you write your ACT test.

Fuel Your Brain
Your brain needs carbohydrates, protein and other nutrients to function optimally. You are able to think clearer and faster when your brain has healthy fuel. This means you can’t eat a breakfast of donuts and coffee and expect to fire on all cylinders. Ensure you have a balanced meal of carbohydrates, proteins and fruit before you take your test. Make sure you are well hydrated.

Read The Questions
Read through all the questions carefully before you start. Prioritize them from easiest to hardest and then answer the easy questions first.  Read every question at least twice to be absolutely sure you understand what is expected of you.  Even if you write the best answer in the history of ACT, misinterpreting the question will still get you a low score.

Quit It If You Can’t Hit It
Don’t know the answer? Move on to the next question and come back to it later. Never waste time trying to figure out a difficult question. Time constraint is the biggest challenge you face in the ACT, so answer all the questions you can and then come back to the ones you struggled with.

Take A Wild Guess
Still don’t know the answer? Take a guess at what it could be.  There is no penalty for incorrect answers in the ACT, so make an educated guess.

Every Day We’re Bubbling, Bubbling
Be very careful when bubbling. If you mark the incorrect answer on the answer sheet, all your hard work will be for nothing.  Ensure that you leave time at the end of the test to check that you have filled the right answers in on the answer sheet.

Smile!
OK, so maybe you won’t feel like smiling, but try to stay positive.  A defeatist attitude is your worst enemy.  If you can’t figure something out, just give yourself a pep talk and move on to the next question.  A positive attitude can really make a difference to your final ACT score.

Note: Adapted from a post originally published 1/20/2014 on the Tutor Doctor Corp. blog

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