The ACT (originally an acronym for “American College Test”) is one of the most important requirements for gaining admission into a college degree program. It is a paper-based multiple-choice exam administered by ACT, Inc. A higher score on the ACT increases your chances of getting into the college or university of your choice.
The ACT consists of five sections: English, Math, Reading, Science, and an essay section. By following specific steps and techniques, it may be possible to prepare for the test in a way that ensures a high score in each section.
Preparing for the English Section
The English section tests grammar and editing skills. The correct answers are usually the most logical and most straightforward, so you should learn to identify concise statements that make the most logical sense.
Get into the habit of reading entire paragraphs before trying to figure out the correct answer to a possible question. Taking the time to read the question paragraphs during the test will help reduce your chances of making a wrong choice.
Brush up on your grammar, syntax, and sentence structure. Even if you generally find grammar tests easy, a refresher review could help you with more esoteric rules that you may have forgotten.
Math Practice Tips
Devote some extra time to understanding diagrams. The math portion of the ACT usually includes diagrams of figures describing the given problem. These diagrams will contain clues on the most logical answers to the questions. Frequently, diagrams will even provide a visual clue as to what the correct answer will be.
Practice answering questions by filling out formulas and equations with the provided letters and numbers. When asked to determine the equivalent of “x,” for example, try out each option in the equation and see if it adds up. In some cases, you may not even have to solve the problem to come up with the correct answer.
Brushing up on the Reading Subjects
The reading section of the ACT tests your ability to read and understand written passages. There will be four topic areas, each with one or two passages: prose fiction/literary narrative, social science, humanities, and natural science. If you haven’t taken these subjects in a while, it would be helpful to brush up on them a few weeks before you are scheduled to take the test.
Figure out which of these subjects you are most comfortable with. On the day of the test, it would be helpful to answer the questions from your strongest subjects first, so that you have more time to devote to the rest of the section.
Science Review Suggestions
The Science section will require you to interpret data and answer questions about graphs, tables, and scientific experiments. There will be a section on conflicting viewpoints, which usually takes the longest to complete.
Familiarity with science terminology and facts is always helpful, but all these details can be confusing, and even overwhelming, during the test. It might, therefore, be beneficial to look at the graphs to see if there is sufficient information to answer the questions without having to wrestle with the terminology.
Developing a Study Plan for the Essay Section
The essay part of the test is relatively predictable, so it is possible to formulate an effective plan for getting a high score on this section. In general, it would be best to study scholarly essays in art, history, and literature, rather than basing your essay on hypothetical viewpoints.
Get used to writing essays with a logical and easy to understand structure. Start with a concise and compelling introduction before going into your main points. Make sure to end with a strong and decisive conclusion as well.