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Acing the ACT

The ACT can be a struggle for many students, but there are a few tips that can help students be more successful and make the test less stressful.

Izzy Haave, Social Media Editor

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Applying for college can be scary, especially if you aren’t entirely confident in your ACT scores.

Yeah, you know, that one thing that every high school student is eager to take; that thing that plays a major role in determining your future as a student. Totally riveting. Who doesn’t love sweaty palms, shaky hands, and heart palpitations? Not to mention, there really is no better way to spend your Saturday morning…

Okay, so they’re not so great, but what if there was a way to make these tests, that are so influential, a little less traumatic–a way to perhaps, ace your ACT? Luckily, there are beneficial tips to know when taking the ACT.

When beginning the early morning of test day, it is crucial to eat something before heading out the door. After waking up from a hopefully restful sleep, testers should eat a light, healthy breakfast, like fruit.

From here, gather key tools that are essential in ACT testing: plenty of number 2 pencils and an ACT permitted calculator. Don’t worry about bringing a phone, you won’t need it, and not to mention, just the sight of one during testing will get you kicked out. Automatic zero. No thanks.

Another important tip to know before filling in a single bubble is to remain calm during your test. By taking deep breaths and relaxing, you will be less anxious and it will be easier to think clearly. By doing this, you will relieve yourself from stress and all the dreaded side effects like sweaty palms and heart palpitations.

The only thing you should be stressing about now is how you plan on turning down colleges after getting your ACT score back. Any institution with common sense will be begging to have an intellectual, such as yourself, attending their campus.

While the English section may leave test-takers floundered in confusion and frustration, there are some simple rules to remember that will help eliminate this common issue.

Firstly and most importantly, to know the simple rules of sentence structure is like winning the lottery in ACT English. By taking out unnecessary information and stripping the sentence of fluff, you will be able to clearly identify the correct answer with no problem. This tactic will both make the answer easier to identify and teach you how to navigate correct answers in future questions.

Another helpful tip for the English portion is to know that often the correct answer is the shortest answer. This happens to be the case most times, unless of course, the shortest option is horrible. These short options are usually the most concise and straight to the point without adding in unneeded, not to mention incorrect, fluff.

The last English tip that will help you ace the English portion of your ACT is to be skeptical of choosing answers that make generalizations and that contain overly dramatic word choice. Often answers that include the words “all”, “everything”, “everyone”, and other extreme words are decoys to distract the reader. It’s too bad because we see right through their little game; they aren’t going to fool us. Not today. Not ever.

Following the English comes the Math portion of your ACT. Math comes easy to some, and incredibly difficult to others, so it is incredibly important to know a few tips.

The first one is to remember to rewrite each key piece of information from the question and to draw out diagrams of what the question is asking. By using this geometric reasoning, you will be able to determine how to use those numbers and what formula to use. This will ultimately aid you in choosing the correct answer. Another key tip is to plug in answers and equations instead of doing the work of long problems. This will save you time and prove the correct answer without having to generate your own. Along with saving you time, by plugging in the given options into the question, you will give your brain a rest. Another tip that will help give your brain a rest is using a calculator to multiply or add double-digit problems. Though they may seem simple, it’s always best to check your work, especially in such a high stress situation where a

simple mistake could later become 10, even 12. With these key tips, you’ll be able to ace your math ACT; ultimately subtracting the mistakes off your test and adding on the scholarships.

Next up is the reading. Now, if you’re maybe not the best at reading quickly and comprehending at an even faster rate, then you’re at the right place. There is nothing like reading something and after you finish, you realize you have no clue what you just read. All ideas and concepts from the passage just totally fly over your head. One key tip that can help with this is reading the questions prior to looking at the passage. This will help to give you some sort of idea to what you are looking for in the passage and it will help to prevent you from mixing up information after you have read. This will also save you time and keep your mind focused. We all know that there is not enough time to read the entire passage, read the question, go back to the text to find the answer and then select the answer; a total waste of time. The next tip is best explained in two words. Annotated notes. By taking annotated notes throughout your reading, focusing in on main ideas and key information, you will have an easier time determining the correct answer and minimize the likelihood of you mixing up information or becoming confused. With this tip, it is best to keep these annotations short to save the most time and to keep the information as concise as possible. The last tip for the reading section is to remember to cross out all far fetch answers or definite wrong answers right away. By using process of elimination, your likeliness of selecting the correct answer is greatly enhanced because the correct answer becomes much clearer. Therefore, cross out all answers that seem illogical, and while you’re at it, cross out all your worries because you’ve got this; without a doubt you’re acing your reading ACT.

By the time the tester gets to the Science portion of the test, they’re drained emotionally, mentally, and physically. Almost in a dazed state, you stumble over thought and words, only knowing that you’re ready for this ruthless punishment to be over. However, by knowing two essential tips for the Science questions, you won’t need to worry about this inevitable draining, even if you can feel its onset halfway through the reading section. First off, many Science questions have information that is either unneeded or analytical. Therefore, it is beneficial to go straight to the graphs to determine if you can navigate what is being analyzed. By doing this, it will be easier to filter through what information should be known and what is useless. Also, by figuring out what information is important, you will know what to look for and pay attention to if you need to go back and read the intro for more background to a study. The second tip to ace this portion of your ACT is sifting through the hard questions and the easy questions. It is important to remember that question 2 and question 42 are worth the same amount of points, even though question 42 is exponentially more difficult than question 2. Moreover, it is key the tester answers all the easy questions first, and if a question is extremely difficult, it is better to guess than not give an answer at all. It’s true what they say. You miss 100 percent of the bubbles you don’t fill in.

Above all, the best preparation for the ACT is to simply study- take as many practice exams and section tests you can. From these, you will be able to see your weaknesses and strengths, which will help to give you an idea of what you need to study more of and study less of. Along with this, preparing will also give you an idea of what to expect when taking the test, such as format and question type. With all this in mind, you will be able to put the ace in your ACT.

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About the Writer
Izzy Haave, Social Media Editor
Izzy Haave is a junior and this is her second year on the Scepter Staff. In her free time, she likes to hang out with her friends, family, and dogs.
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