The ACT exam is a fast-paced, intensive critical reasoning test covering advanced English grammar, critical reading analysis, scientific data interpretation, and mathematics. A good ACT score is an excellent advantage in your college application. Below, we have curated the top tips for succeeding on the ACT.
Preparation is key. For most students, this means private ACT lessons with a reputable and experienced tutor, extensive and diligent study of the requisite material, and frequent ACT testing practice, ideally in simulated test conditions. Given the broad range of subject matter, the length of the test, and the nature of standardized testing, we recommend students prepare for the ACT preparation over several months. Consistent preparation reaps better results than cramming.
Here are our top Preparation tips for success on the ACT:
- Revise using a variety of techniques: blend your learning by writing your own notes, creating flash cards, recording yourself reading points, and “teaching” back the topic to a friend or parent. It really does help with retention!
- Sit at least three ACT practice tests before the real test. This helps your body and mind adjust to the length of the exam. It’s especially helpful to sit these under test conditions. A-List Education offers proctored SAT and ACT exams every weekend. Contact our Client Service Team to sign up!
- Complete diligent corrections on all ACT practice tests and timed practice sections! This is the key step to ensure improvement. For each correction, write out what exactly went wrong. Create a list of these errors and look for the pattern. Use these to adjust your strategy for the next practice test.
- Remember PPE! Your test centre may require you to wear a mask and possibly gloves. To prepare for this, ensure you sit a minimum of one full, timed practice test in this PPE. You want to minimise the number of new variables you will face on test day.
During the Test
- Read each question carefully. This sounds obvious but is the number one reason students lose points. For each question, ask yourself, “What is the question telling me? What is the question asking me?”. When you can, note down this information on the paper or tablet provided. For the sections you do not have access to writing implements, make active mental notes.
- Write down your thought process in the maths section. Do NOT try to do calculations in your head: you are much more likely to make errors.
- Do not rush. You should aim for accuracy rather than speed: be prepared to sacrifice several questions in order to spend more time getting all of the other questions correct.
- Skip “black hole” questions. All questions are worth the same amount. Do not spend multiple minutes trying desperately to get the answer to that one monstrous question – move on.
- Do not let tricky questions shake you. You will come up against hard questions that you struggle to answer. That is okay! Take a deep breath and when the next question comes, face it with a clean mental slate.
- Stay focused. The ACT is a long test. If you find your mind drifting, take 10 seconds to re-centre your attention. It is worth taking that time to refresh yourself mentally as it will aid your accuracy.
- Move around on breaks. When you get a break, make sure you get up, stretch and eat something. This will het the blood flowing back to your brain and help you concentrate better for the next section.
It is possible for all students to excel on the ACT. If you would like to hear more about how A-List’s experienced tutors can help you earn a great score, our Academic Team would be happy to have a free consultation with you.
After months of preparation, the SAT is here. But how do you get the good SAT score you need? A-List Education, with over fifteen years of experience and thousands of student success stories, we have developed a tailored method to help each student reach their potential.
Our Top Tips for the SAT:
- Practice and reflection are key!Sitting ~3 SAT mock tests in the weeks leading up to the test will give you a chance to develop the stamina required as well as practice your timing. Creating test conditions, using the precise timing for each section, really does make a difference psychologically! A-List Education offers proctored SAT and ACT exams every weekend. Contact our Client Service Team to sign up!
- For each SAT mock test, review your mistakes thoroughly. You want to redo each question and carefully determine where unpack exactly where you went awry.
- From these trends, create “strategy cards” of the 3-4 top things to remember for each SAT section. Look at these in the breaks between test sections as a to remember what you should do in the next section. Then, refocus to provide a clean transition from the previous section.
On Test Day
- Give yourself plenty of time to get to the test centre. You want to arrive more than thirty minutes before the test begins to give yourself an opportunity to acquaint yourself with the space, register, and adhere to any social distancing guidelines.
- Before you walk into the room, take several minutes to yourself. Take some deep breaths, remind yourself of all the hard work you’ve put in, and bring your thoughts into the present.
- We recommend not looking at social media or any other app distractions the whole morning of the test. This day is about you and only you.
- Bring snacks! This is a long day, and you need to have energy to get you through to the end. Make sure you bring high-protein snacks and bottled water.
During the Test
- Before each section, take another deep breath, and concentrate on the specific tips you had for the upcoming section (and only that section!). After a section is done, put it from your mind and focus on what is ahead.
- Do not spend too long on one particular question – all questions are worth the same amount. If you find yourself wrestling with a question, make a note of it and move on. Ensure the rest of the questions in the section are correct before coming back to it.
- Read the questions carefully! This is the #1 reason for error on the SAT. For every question, ask yourself, “What do I know? (i.e. what is the question telling me?) and What do I want? (i.e. what is the question asking me?).
- It is more important to get questions correct than to answer every question. Don’t be afraid to “sacrifice” a couple of questions and give yourself time to answer the other questions correctly. This strategy can improve your score.
- Fill in every bubble! Yes, you may not be answering every question – but still guess an answer! Worst case scenario, you have a 25% chance of getting the answer correct.
- Fill in your bubble sheet carefully! Make sure you have selected the answers that you actually mean! We recommend doing this as you go along and not leaving it to the end – you do NOT want to risk running out of time!
If you would like to speak further about tips for the SAT, reach out to our Academic Team; we will be happy to discuss with you how A-List can help.