6 Tips for First-Time ACT Test Takers


The ACT is a standardized test that is administered to high school students to prove their college-readiness. While the ACT can be taken throughout the country, it is primarily used by schools in the Midwest and Southern United States. It can be quite scary taking a test that controls a lot of your future, so it is important to be as prepared as possible. This will allow you to relax and perform your best on the test. These are six tips that you must follow when you are taking the ACT test for the first time.

Get Familiar with Test Structure

The best way to relax your nerves before the test starts is by knowing exactly what to expect. The test consists of four timed sections that all cover a different school subject. All of the questions will be answered using multiple choice. A great way to get used to the timing of the ACT is by taking several practice tests. These practice tests will also help you learn the style of questions that will be asked.

Do Not Cram Before Test

The ACT is designed to test all of the knowledge you gained during your schooling. This is information you should already know, so there is no point in attempting to cram for the test. Cramming is also a bad idea because it is rarely a successful learning tool. Have fun with friends the night before the test, but do not stay out too late. This will help you go into the test room fully rested and relaxed.

Answer Easy Questions First

There is a limited amount of time to answer all of the questions. You want to make sure you get as many correct answers as possible, so answer all of the easy questions first. You do not miss out on higher score just because you did not have time to answer a few easy questions at the end of the test. Once you have correctly answered all of the easy questions, you can go back to the ones you skipped.

Guess on the Hard Questions

The scoring system for the ACT does not penalize wrong answers. Since there are no negative consequences to guessing, you need to make sure to answer every question. You may get lucky and pick the correct answer. You obviously want to eliminate the illogical options before answering the question. It is also a good strategy to quickly fill in any blank questions if you are running out of time at the end of the test.

Do the Optional Writing Section

The ACT recently added an optional writing section to the test that has you write a short essay on a provided prompt. The writing section is given a completely different score from the rest of the test. Showing off your writing skills may be an optional part of the ACT, but a large number of schools are now requiring this part of the test from their applicants.

Do Not Stress About Score

It will take some time before your ACT score is revealed. Do not stress about your performance. This is just going wreck havoc on your daily life. If you end up scoring lower than expected, then you can always take the test again. The experience gained from the first test will help you bump up the score on the second attempt.

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Kevin Schultz is a professional journalist with over 15 years of writing and media experience. He is a full-time contributor to the Themocracy Online News Blog and his insightful writing has been enjoyed by thousands.