How To Prepare For The ACT | 10 Quick Tips

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How to prepare for the ACT? Thousands of students ask themselves that question every year. The full answer is expansive, but these eight tips are a great place to start.

While going through ACT prep, it’s easy to get stressed out as the big day gets close. If that happens, here are a few extra tips on how to keep focused before test day.


How To Prepare For The ACT – 10 Tips To Start

Review The Science Section Passage Types

Your first step to beating the Science section is knowing what each passage type presents.

The ACT Science passages are organized into three types:

  • Research Summary – Presents a series of experiments
  • Data Representation – Presents information about a specific topic
  • Conflicting Viewpoints – Presents multiple theories about a topic

Practice Your Graph Skills

Work on interpreting graphs a lot before your test date.

Data representation, through tools like graphs, charts, and other visual aids, are big on the Science test.

You need to interpret data from these representations and draw conclusions. Take plenty of practice tests with realistic examples and look over scientific publications.

A quick way to practice data interpretation is by glancing over a graph and trying to determine trends quickly. Double-check the article to see if your interpretations are correct.

Skim Reading Section Passages

Skim the presented passages for useful information.

The Reading test is tightly timed. To give yourself extra time for answering, consider skimming them first. Here’s how:

  • Read the first and last paragraphs first
  • Read the topic sentence of each body paragraph

Once you’ve skimmed, go back and answer the line-cited questions. Afterward, answer the remaining general questions in the section

Read Reading Section Passages Out Of Order

Tackle your best passages first, then come back for the rest.

As you practice taking the ACT, you’ll notice which passage types are easier or harder for you. Once you have completed a few practice runs, go through the passage types, and rank them from easiest to hardest.

The trick here is to finish the ones that you can ace quickly, in order to leave extra time for the harder ones.

Also, pay close attention to your Scantron sheet and question booklet. Students often accidentally fill in the wrong Scantron choices when they’re going too fast and lose points.”

Learn To Spot Run-ons And Fragments

Keep an eye out for long fragments or run-on sentences.

A complete sentence consists of the following components:

  • One primary clause, consisting of a subject
  • A corresponding predicate with correct punctuation

A complete sentence can contain multiples clauses. However, those clauses must connect through correct punctuation. If a sentence doesn’t have a primary clause, then it’s a fragment.

A run-on sentence contains multiple, complete thoughts that aren’t correctly connected. Remember, a sentence’s length alone doesn’t mean it is correctly formed.

Also, look for subjects and predicates, and check that multiple clauses are correctly connected by commas or semicolons.

Look Out For Short Word Counts Answers

Shorter sentences are normally the best bet for correct answers.

The shortest yet grammatically correct answer choice that shares all necessary information is correct. Any answer choices that add words or phrases that don’t communicate helpful information are instantly wrong.

Fill Up Three To Four Essay Booklet Pages

ACT essays that less than three pages will lose points.

Graders don’t have much time to score your Essay. Instead, they rely on basic criteria to figure out your score. One of those criteria is the length. Graders assume that students who write longer essays have more to say and, in turn, write better arguments.

Make sure you write clearly, even if you have to write fast, to fill all four pages. If graders can’t read your writing, they will immediately start docking points.

Write Five Full Paragraphs For The Essay

Your essay must have five paragraphs.

The main things it must have are:

  • Introduction
  • Three body paragraphs
  • Conclusion

Make sure all three sections are covered, even if you have to shorten body paragraphs for the introduction and conclusion. Graders check to see that you’ve written those five full paragraphs.

If you can, outline them ahead of time and keep your writing on track. You’ll finish writing out your argument without rushing.

Memorize Helpful Math Equations and Formulas

Commit helpful equations and formulas to memory.

To save time and avoid flipping back to the Math section’s reference page, you should have all the important equations and formulas memorized. Some of the most helpful ones include:

  • The equation of a line
  • The quadratic equation
  • The equation of a circle
  • The Pythagorean theorem

Practice using these equations and formulas until you know them perfectly.

Plug-In Answer Choices Into Questions

Insert the provided answer choices back into the problem as a last resort.

This strategy doesn’t always work, but it can help when you’ve seemingly exhausted your options. Start plugging in the provided answer choices to see which one solves the problem.

However, don’t use this as your main tactic, because it does eat up valuable time. Starting with these tips is a great way to start answering the question ‘how to prepare for the ACT?’

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