10 Last Minute ACT Tips
If your ACT test date is coming up fast and you don’t feel 100% confident, don’t worry. These last minute ACT tips will help you prepare physically and mentally for the big day.
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Focus On Fixing Mistakes
Take the time you have left to dig into what’s still causing trouble.
It’s easy to work on ACT practice tests, get your answers, and then move back to straight studying. However, the benefit comes from working out why you still get certain kinds of questions wrong.
Go back through past practice attempts, isolate the one or two sections that are consistently wrong and work on them. Drill down into why you’re missing them and then work out the correct answers.
At that point, you should have both the knowledge and strategy to answer them right on test day.
Check Your Answer Pacing
Make sure you’re answering questions at the right speed.
Remember that every section is timed and once time’s up, you need to move on. Again, review the timing for each section and how many questions to answer.
A good way to track is timing yourself realistically while working through a couple of practice sections. When time’s up look back and see if everything’s been answered.
If not, look at what’s left, and figure out how long you’re still taking. Try to keep shaving it down before test day.
Get Enough Sleep
Get to bed early the night before the test.
Why? Because you’ll give your body and brain more time to calm from nerves. As far as how many hours to get, shoot for at minimum eight to nine hours.
This way even if you’re having trouble falling asleep initially, you can at least get enough in to give you morning energy. When it comes to waking up, give yourself at least an hour before leaving for the test.
You’ll give yourself enough time to eat, and let your brain start revving up its cylinders.
Don’t Skip Breakfast
Give your body the energy it needs to keep focused.
As far as what to eat, make something protein-heavy like eggs. Protein-rich foods will release sustained energy in your body without making you feel sluggish.
If you don’t normally eat breakfast, it’s ok to eat something else like granola. If you normally drink coffee, feel free to have a cup that morning.
If not, then leave it alone. Your body is at risk of heightened nerves and less focus from the caffeine rush.
Dress Properly For The Day
Be comfortable yet prepared.
The biggest key to your test day wardrobe is comfort. Don’t wear anything that distracts your attention from discomfort.
One helpful tip is dressing in layers; you’ll adapt fast if the temperature in the testing center is too hot or cold. Also, make sure to have everything you need to bring already packed up.
Do it the night before preferably. You won’t panic then about being late while finding everything to take.
Keep Calm And Don’t Rush
Your nerves are going to be intense, but don’t let them overwhelm you.
Take each section one question at a time. Be mindful of how much time you have left, but also don’t rush through questions just to finish.
If you’re stuck on a particular question, skip it and move on. Getting hyped up over one hard question takes away energy and prevents you from answering the rest.
It’s better to skip one or two questions and answer the rest then come back. Even if you get them wrong, your chances of everything else being correct is better.
Don’t Be Afraid To Skip Questions
Move on and keep going.
If a particular question is eating up time, skip it, and move forward. If you spend more than one minute in the Math, Reading, or Science sections on a question, come back to it.
The English section is even more unforgiving. Try not to spend more than 30 seconds on a question there.
Again, even if you have to come back and guess on those questions, you still have a chance to get points. Not answering the remaining questions guarantees no points whatsoever.
Check Your Answers When Possible
Use any extra time wisely.
Let’s say you finish a section early because of your answering pace. Even if you feel good about your answers, go back and double-check.
Students who answer questions extra fast often make silly mistakes that cost them. Also, make sure every answer sheet bubble is properly filled in.
Even if you’re guessing, it’s ok. You aren’t penalized for incorrect answers via guessing.
Use Your Breaks Wisely
You get two breaks on ACT test day, use them both to your advantage.
Your first break is between the Math and Reading sections. The second one is provided between the Science section and the optional Essay section. Use these breaks for activities like:
- Bathroom breaks
- Eating snacks
- Clearing your mind and refocusing
If you’ve packed your bag properly, you’ll have snacks and water to help keep energy up. Consume them during these breaks because you aren’t allowed during the exam itself.
Make Your Essay Writing Clear
If you take the ACT With Writing, then be mindful of how you write your essay.
Your essay must be clearly structured with a logical flow. The given format is:
- three body paragraphs
No more or less is expected. Make sure that your argument is clearly defended with clear examples.
Make sure your thesis is clearly laid out upfront in the introduction. As far as length goes, try to make it at least one and a half to two pages.
An essay that’s only one page long gives off the impression of minimal effort. Show the reviewer you have plenty to say when they’re grading it.
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