ACT Testing

I can’t lie and say that I miss taking the ACT. While taking the test was essential to getting into my college of choice, it was not my favorite part of high school. In fact, preparing for ACT testing was a hassle I wish I could go back in time for. If I had the opportunity to do it all over again, I would give my high school self one key piece of advice in order to prepare for the ACT: relax.

I know, I know, that is easier said than done. Standardized tests have a way of turning even the most laid back of individuals into walking, talking stress vehicles. We are so focused on getting the best score on the test that we can, we fail to realize that overwhelming ourselves can have a negative impact on our performance and score. You can have all the knowledge necessary to score high on the ACT but because you are a bundle of stress and nerves, you could do less than your best.

Preparing for ACT testing doesn’t have to be frustrating. The test is important but your performance is often dependent upon your lack of stress and confidence in your skills. Below, I have listed a few ways to prepare for ACT testing without losing your mind in the process. These are a few tips that could help in preparing for the test:

No Cramming!

Attempting to cram a bunch of information into your mind the night before, or even multiple nights before, taking the ACT is a pretty bad idea. ACT testing isn’t your typical test. It is a culmination of information learned over the course of high school. A lot of the information you already know, you just need a reminder, kind of like a tune up for your car. There is really no way to cram all the information you need to know into one study session the night before so don’t even try!

ACT Prep is the Best

Many high schools offer ACT preparation sessions. These are often held after school, though some high schools offer the prep sessions during school during lunch hours or even as a separate class. It would be wise to take advantage of ACT testing prep sessions. Go to as many as you can or think that you need. They are held for your benefit in order to refresh your memory on information needed for the test as well as to teach you material you may not be familiar with.  These sessions are a great way to prepare you for the ACT. And they are free! No need to pay for an expensive tutor.

They can also help you to lessen your stress about the test by boosting your confidence. Studying in these sessions can help you feel more confident in what you know. So when you go to take the test on that fateful morning, you can feel like you know all you need to know in order to do your very best on the test.

Online Help

There are a few academic websites that have practice ACT testing questions. The official website for the ACT test,, is the best place to answer practice ACT questions, in my opinion. This website has practice questions for each of the subjects that will be covered in the ACT, which are English, Mathematics, Science, Reading and Writing. They also have sample writing prompts and examples of essay responses. Using this online help is effective and free.

Prep Books

While I am a big advocate for free help, sometimes spending a few dollars on ACT testing preparation can be helpful as well. There are tons of books out designed to help high school students prepare for the ACT. These books contain practice questions for all of the subjects, writing prompts and examples of responses. These books can be found at many book stores in the designated areas. Just ask a store employee for help finding it. You can also buy these books used online for a lot cheaper than in the stores. Used is just as good as new, take it from a book junkie like myself. Try Amazon or

Sleep, Eat and Test

Get a good sleep the night before the test, at least eight hours. This will allow you to wake up well rested and ready to go. Make sure to eat a nutritional breakfast for energy and focus. Trying to take a test with an empty stomach can impair your focus and keep you from doing your best on the test.

Don’t let ACT testing stress you out. Believe me, it is not the big, bad monster it can appear to be. Standardized tests are intimidating but nothing can stop you from doing your best and getting a great score. Take the above tips into consideration and you will do just fine. And remember, if you do not do as well as you’d hoped the first time you take the test, you can always take it again. You will do great on the ACT. Never doubt yourselves, scholars!

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Ashlyn Porter

Ashlyn Porter

Ashlyn Porter is a senior at the University of Dayton pursuing a degree in communication with a concentration in theater as well as a minor in sociology. A self-declared cinephile, Ashlyn enjoys watching and studying film in hopes of one day being involved in various aspects of the film industry. Her passions also include in writing, reading, baking and performing Shakespeare for her dog.
Ashlyn Porter

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