Good ACT scores require high individual section scores to produce a strong composite: achieving this requires comprehensive content knowledge, particularly English grammar, effective use of exam techniques, and sufficient stamina.
The ACT is split into two parts: content (English and Maths) and strategy (Reading and Science).
An effective way to raise your composite score is to first focus on the English section. This is because these questions focus on specific grammar rules that can be memorised and applied. A full breakdown of these rules with targeted drills for every possible question type can be found in A-List’s Book of Knowledge. An important first step to a strong English section score is to absorb this content through ACT tutoring and reading the Book of Knowledge, write out the rules in your own words and complete practice drills before tackling a full English section.
The second area of content that you should review is for the Maths section: it is crucial to be able to call to mind instantly graphing and quadratic rules/equations such as circle equation, slope of a line, angle rules, sequences (geometric and arithmetic), exponent and log rules, permutations, and discriminant. Again, we recommend the Book of Knowledge as a comprehensive breakdown of all maths content with questions that allow you to build your confidence and flexibility with the material.
The Maths section requires appropriate use of technique and strategy for high scores. The key to standardised testing is that you can use multiple avenues to get to the right answer! Unlike GCSE Maths, you are not graded on a mathematical working. A-List has developed three proprietary techniques for ACT maths that empower students to work more carefully and efficiently and short circuit the complex maths. Even students taking A Level Further Maths can strongly benefit from using maths techniques by answering a greater number of high-level questions.
It is also vitally important to develop stamina over several weeks and months so that you are able to apply techniques and attention to key question words throughout every section. A private tutor would recommend that you should sit at least 2-3 full timed practice tests. This not only enables you to practice the content and the timing but also gets your mind and body used to the stamina needed to sustain focus throughout the whole test. Furthermore, you make sure you pay as much attention to the corrections as you do to sitting the test! For each correction, carefully write down exactly what went wrong with that question and what you can do next time to avoid the same mistake. At the end of the corrections, notice what patterns are emerging and use this information to hone your strategy for the next ACT test.
For best results, we recommend working with a private tutor who will assess the areas you should focus on for maximum growth and then provide you with the resources to raise your score.