5 Last Minute ACT Study Tips!

Tip #1 – Get plenty of sleep the night before.

Don’t stay up late the night before cramming in problems from the ACT practice test.

By the night before the big test, you’re going to know what you know and it’s unlikely that the last minute studying is going to impact your results. The best thing you can do is to get a good night’s sleep and eat a filling breakfast in the morning. The test does get repetitive, so it’s beneficial to be well rested so you’re not falling asleep on your desk.

Although there is usually a break in the middle of the test where you can use the restroom or grab a snack, you should make sure to go in to the test not hungry so you can focus on the test rather than your rumbling stomach.

Tip #2 – Get Comfortable.

The most important thing to do when you actually sit down at a desk to take the ACT is to get yourself situated and comfortable.

It takes four hours to take the ACT and there would be nothing worse than to sit there the entire time stiff and irritated. If you want to cross your legs, do it.

When I took the ACT, the majority of kids in my class wore sweatpants… While some people think that sweats are a little too casual and sloppy to wear to school, I think that this is the one time it is acceptable.

 Tip #3 – Maintain a steady speed.

The ACT has a total of 215 questions, not including the writing portion. The test is split in to four sections: English, Mathematics, Reading and Science.

The sections have a time limit set that indicates how long you have for each section. Time limits range from 35 minutes to 60 minutes, which leaves you with less than a minute to answer each question.

While it is important to take your time so you’re not missing anything, you have to remember that you don’t have time to sit and stare at a certain question for several minutes. If you can’t figure out the answer within the first 10 or 15 seconds of looking at it, move on.

If you have time at the end of the test, come back to it. If you spend several minutes trying to solve only a couple questions, it is more than likely that you are going to get more wrong at the end since you didn’t have time to finish them.

Tip #4 – Answer EVERY question.

While the SAT marks you down for every question you get wrong, the ACT doesn’t penalize you for wrong answers.

If time starts to run out on the section you’re working on and you find that you have several questions unanswered, go back and take your best guess. It’s better to fill in all the answers and possibly get them right than to leave blanks that you will definitely not get credit for.

I’m not suggesting that you guess on every problem; I’m merely suggesting that if time is running out and you know there is no way you can finish all of the questions, quickly try to take a stab at them and fill in your closest guess.

Tip #5 – If you’re not happy with your score, take it again!

Of course you don’t want to waste your money on taking the ACT more than once if you don’t have to… but if you get a low score the first time and need a higher one to get into the school of your dreams, then taking the test again is probably in your best interest.

When your scores arrive in the mail and your score is lower than you had hoped, don’t stress about it—sign up to take it again!

The company that creates the ACT test also created ACT Online Prep, an online program that teaches you how to improve on your test taking skills and how to improve your score. Along with the online course, there are books and classes available to coach you along in prepping to take the test again.

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Melissa McDonald

Melissa McDonald

Melissa McDonald is a senior at Central Michigan University pursuing a degree in journalism and a minor in hospitality services administration. At school, Melissa writes articles for her school's online magazine and is a member of CMU's Hospitality and Tourism Society. In her spare time, Melissa enjoys spending time at home with her family, traveling, shopping and maintaining her personal blog.
Melissa McDonald

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