ACT Exam

A student acing the ACT while sitting at a table.


Strategies on Acing the ACT

The ACT is a standardized test like the SAT. It’s an aptitude test that includes 4 main sections: ACT English, ACT Math, ACT Reading, and ACT Science. The test is mostly taken by high school students who are applying for a college program the US. Colleges select applicants based on their ACT scores and students with high scores are awarded merit-based scholarships.

If you’re taking the test soon, here are 3 strategies on how to ace the ACT.

1.     Narrow Down Choices for Tough Questions

Make use of the fact that the ACT includes multiple-choice questions. One effective strategy is to keep a look out for wrong answers instead of the correct one. Make a cross beside each wrong option so that you can remove them from the list of options that you’ll take into consideration. If you’re unsure about the answer to a question, try and narrow the choices down to two. The probability of getting the answer right is higher if you pick an answer between two choices instead of choosing one out of all the options.

You won’t have to cross incorrect options for questions that you can answer instantly. Nevertheless, it is an effective strategy to narrow down your choices. 

In addition to that, you won’t be marked negatively if you get an answer wrong. Therefore, don’t leave any question blank, because you have nothing to lose if you pick an answer you’re unsure about. If you narrow down the correct answer to a fewer options, you’re likely to score more on the test.

2.     Do the Easy Questions First

You don’t have a lot of time to spend on each question in the ACT. Thus, it’s best to tackle the easy questions first. This way, you will guarantee a certain number of points for getting those questions correct. You don’t want to miss out on some of the easy questions because you spent too much time on a difficult question. Remember: each question has the same score, so don’t waste your time on a hard question. You might find it helpful to do the math section twice – answering the easy questions in the first attempt and the difficult ones in the second.

3.     Do As Many Practice Tests As You Can

You need to practice anything to be good at it – the ACT is no different. Make a study schedule in which you devote certain days to doing full-length practice tests. You can get access to practice tests from the ACT website or from other online or print sources.

Make sure that you take each practice test in an exam-like environment. This means that you work in a silent room with a timer running. Don’t stop the timer during any of your practice tests – you won’t be able to do that on the day of the test. Practicing this way will help you get used to how the actual test will be. Fewer surprises will help you keep your nerves together on the day of the test, and you’ll be able to work with greater focus.

Like the SAT, the ACT is an important test for young college applicants. This can make it a nerve-wracking experience to take the test. Thus, take a deep breath, and implement these strategies in your preparation period to get a great score.

If you need additional help preparing for the ACT test check out the online ACT Prep.