Here in North Eastern New Jersey, we are all very accustomed to taking the SAT®. With the recent changes to the SAT®, there have been more students than ever taking the ACT. The ACT test offers students a chance to show off their skills and get into the school that best suits their academic career. This pivotal test can be stressful and many students don’t perform well because of test anxiety. Being prepared means you feel confident, you have learned to deal with the timing and pacing of each section and you have learned the rules as they relate to the concepts in each section. Confidence will reduce your stress and help you to perform at your best on exam day. Here are some tips to help you to boost your ACT score.
- The best way to practice the ACT is to take an ACT practice test. There are tons of practice tests available for free online. Practice tests are one of the best ways to ensure that you have the knowledge you need to bolster your scores and confidence.
- Answer everything! You won’t be penalized for incorrect answers, so guess—you may just get lucky.
- Memorize the directions from your practice tests. Knowing what to do will mean you gain five extra valuable minutes to score points.
- Bring a good eraser. The ACT is marked by a machine and if you don’t erase an incorrect answer completely, it may not recognize your correct answer.
- Depending on the section, you have about 30 – 60 seconds to answer each question. Don’t waste time on questions you don’t know, leave them for the end. Keep an eye on the time, so you can go back and guess at any unanswered questions. This is also where practice tests come in handy as you are able to better pace yourself with practice.
- Check yourself. After every five questions, check that you are still on the right oval on the answer sheet. Accidentally skipping an oval can mean your whole answer sheet is messed up and you will only discover this at the end. Keep checking that you are filling in the right oval.
- Take care of yourself. If you have a big game, you eat well and get enough sleep the night before so you are in peak physical condition. Your brain works best when it is rested and has the energy it needs from a good breakfast. Don’t cram the night before, be organized, get some rest and eat a balanced breakfast.
- Anxiety and stress can negatively affect your performance, so pack your bag and lay out your clothes the night before to facilitate a smooth morning. If talking to friends before the test is making you feel stressed, take a walk and breathe deeply—exercise and oxygen will both help to relieve your stress.
- Get a personalized one-to-one test prep coach in advance who can help to identify the specific areas that need attention to increase scores. They can help you to organize your schedule so you have enough time to study and aren’t prepping the night before the exam. They can take you through the practice tests so you can work on pacing and ACT test prep techniques.