The ACT is a daunting test and the outcome has serious consequences for every student. While there is no substitute for working hard, you can optimize your chances of succeeding in the ACT test by learning strategies for answering questions effectively. Learning to navigate the landscape of an ACT will ensure that you get the best possible results.
Practice makes perfect
Practice tests are available online for you to try. Practice subject tests prior to writing your ACT test in order to familiarize yourself with the way questions are asked. You should also study the instructions for each subject test prior to writing. Since time is such an important factor in your ACT test, knowing the instructions beforehand means you won’t waste time reading them more than once during the exam.
Prioritize your questions
Read through the questions before you start writing. Order them from easiest to hardest and start with the easy ones. Getting the easy points done is a great way to ensure the best score. Doing the easy questions first will also help to build your confidence and get you in the right headspace to take on the more difficult questions.
Shake it off and move on
If you get to a question you just can’t find an answer to, move on. Don’t waste any time getting bogged down on difficult questions. You can come back to it if you need to at a later stage. As you are working through questions, make notes in the margins. You don’t need to hand in a pristine paper, use every inch of paper to make notes and jot down thoughts. That way, when you come back to the difficult questions, you can see what you were working on before.
Don’t know the answer? Guess!
Never leave an answer blank. The ACT test doesn’t penalize you for incorrect answers, so taking a guess may just render the right answer.
Bubbling with care
Take great care when bubbling. It’s easy to accidentally colour in the wrong bubble even when you have the right answer. While you may be working through the answer quickly, double check that you have filled in the right bubble. It’s best to get a couple of answers ready and then fill the bubbles in at the same time to make it faster. Ensure absolute accuracy by saying the question number and the answer in your head as you fill out the bubble grid: “24, F and 25, C.”
Take it easy
This may sound like the worst idea ever when time is such a crucial factor in a successful ACT test, but taking the time to read questions carefully will prevent misinterpretation. Some answers will try to trick you and if you rush through, you will fall victim to these partially right answers.
Adopting a defeatist attitude will result in a poor test score. Tell yourself you can do it, take a deep breath and start with the easy questions so that you can build on your confidence before tackling the more difficult ones.