Five Last Minute Tips for the ACT
The week before an ACT exam is always a stressful time for students. Many test takers try to cram last minute studying sessions into their already busy schedule to bring up their ACT score as much as they possibly can. Unfortunately, the ACT isn't a test for which one can study; it's an exam for which one has to practice!
Practicing is quite different from studying. It's quite likely that you already know all the math formulas, science theories, and grammar rules that you need to be successful on the ACT. Instead of trying to learn more, as you would for a traditional exam, any work you do at the last minute needs to focus on using the information you've already got.
With that in mind, let's take a look a five tips that can help you get the most out of the small amount of practice time you've got!
1. Get The Right Materials
There are a lot of ACT books out on the market. While Princeton Review, Kaplan, and others have books that promise to raise your score, trying to implement any of their techniques at the last minute is probably going to do more harm than good. Focus your efforts on trying actual problems out and get The Real ACT Prep Guide from the makers of the ACT. Doing real problems is the best way to get ready for what you're going to see on test day!
2. Don't Answer Every Question
Most students try to answer every question on the test, regardless of difficulty. This is a mistake! Instead of trying to do all 60 math questions in 60 minutes, focus on doing 40 or 50 questions as correctly as you can. Every question is worth the same number of points, so focus on getting the easy questions right first!
3. Bubble in Every Bubble
While you should take your time and answer questions slowly, you shouldn't leave any bubbles blank. The ACT doesn't mark off extra points for wrong answers, so you should always guess. The worst thing that can happen is that you get a question wrong, costing you nothing. The best thing that can happen is that you get a free point!
4. Do Timed Sections
While it's tempting to pick through the book you've purchased, you need to actually sit down and take a few timed sections. That means getting Mom or Dad to time you as you try to do as many questions as you can within the time limit. You might not have time to take an entire practice test, but a few timed sections can give you a much better sense of how many questions you can do and keep your accuracy up!
5. Get Up Early on Test Day
You have to get up early enough on test day to wake up your brain. That means that if the test is at 8:00 AM, you need to be awake and active by 7:00 AM at the latest. It's also a good idea to eat something resembling a real breakfast and engage your brain so that it's as awake as you are. I suggest a crossword, video game, or a fight with a sibling you don't like very much.
Any other tips you've found useful on test day? Let us know in the comments!