Succeed on the ACT with simple tips
According to American College Testing’s report in 2015, the average composite score on the ACT was 21 out of 36.
Students taking the ACT essentially compete for college acceptance.
The test is built for colleges to have as standard of a metric as possible when considering students for acceptance.
With that standard in mind, Michael Barrett in ACT Prep Black Book: The Most Effective ACT Strategies Ever Published writes that students should understand that answers to the questions are never subjective. If an answer cannot be objectively correct and supported by the context provided, it is not the answer. Occasionally there will be more than one plausibly correct answer, but the option with most evidence of correctness often is correct.
Test takers should keep track of the time with a watch, as the ACT is fast-paced. Some questions will take longer than others, and it may be a smart strategy to save these questions for the end.
Students should trust their instincts when it comes to answering some of the simpler questions, as taking an extra minute to confirm that two plus two equals four on a calculator usually just wastes time.
Barrett furthers that the section students most often struggle with is science, but it is important to recognize that this portion actually requires little knowledge of advanced science. Often, an ACT test taker will encounter unfamiliar words, but as long as they are capable of reading and interpreting graphs and charts, they are likely to score well.
The best way to prepare is to practice. Students should take practice tests to time themselves, and develop strategies for approaching specific sections. However, Barrett explains that practicing with questions produced by third parties typically is not a good strategy, as the only surefire way of becoming familiar with the style of questioning on the ACT is to practice with previous ACT questions.
Most importantly, remember that stressing over the test will most likely cause more harm than good, so relaxation is also key.