Use your local library! Many have SAT/ACT prep books that you can borrow like normal books instead of buying. You can also ask to see if they have online prep resources.
Start practicing well in advance.To maximize your success on the exam, you’ll want to start pretty early, and not just in the month beforehand, so that you can build on your skills and do plenty of practice.
Take advantage of practice tests. They’re almost always the best way to practice, and they’ll help you learn from your mistakes. Simulate an authentic testing environment, and get yourself accustomed to what it’ll be like on the day.
Do your best! It’s the cheesiest and most generic advice ever, but it’s completely accurate. Work hard, and if something doesn’t go as well as you’d hoped, don’t give up! Keep trying and your effort will pay off. Best of luck!
Timed practice exams - Practice exams are the absolute best way to prepare for the ACT. Since each section of the ACT is timed, you should take many practice tests and time yourself to determine your strengths and weaknesses. There are many free ACT practice tests available online and there are also books available with practice tests in them.
Answer EVERY question - There is no penalty for guessing, so definitely make sure you answer every question to get as many points as possible.
Learn the tricks - The ACT doesn’t test your intelligence as much as it tests your ability to take a test. I will give you some tips for each section of the ACT below.
Use ALL the time given to you - I don’t care if you finished twenty minutes early and you already checked your answers. Check them again. While the ACT isn’t going to determine the rest of your life, it is very important for the next chapter of your life: college. Just buckle down and use all the time given to check and recheck your answers. Reread the excerpts given to you. The students who do best on the ACT aren’t the ones who finish early and take a nap.
English is arguably one of the more difficult sections of the ACT because many people truly don’t know grammar very well. Here are some tips to help you improve your english score:
Revise grammar rules - This section is primarily going to be you identifying the sentence with correct grammar. This will be very difficult for you if you don’t know the difference between a comma and a semicolon.
If you aren’t sure, the answer is probably the one with the least commas and changes - The writers of the ACT like to trick people by including sentences with entirely too many commas or additions. Usually, the correct sentence will be relatively simple.
Vocabulary - Vocabulary isn’t a HUGE part of this section, but there will be a few questions that require you to know the difference between homonyms, so you should be aware of this and study accordingly.
READING & SCIENCE
The challenge of the Reading section of the ACT is your time limit. If you aren’t a fast reader, you’re going to have trouble.
Read the ENTIRE story/text - So many people will tell you it’s okay to just skim a story or only read the sections you’re directly being asked about. This will cause you to run into trouble. If you don’t read the entire thing, you’ll miss vital information that may cause you to miss a question.
Practice tests are incredibly important! - Like I said before, one of the most challenging parts of the ACT is the fact that it’s timed. The reading section is a section you REALLY need to practice with a timer, because you will not be able to read this stuff at a leisurely pace. You need to be focused, alert, and able to comprehend what you’re reading. For science, you need to be able to read not only normal text, but graphs as well. Practice diligently so that you are able to easily recognize different kinds of graphs and determine what they mean.
The answers are all there; you just need to find them - Reading and Science aren’t like the Math and English sections; their answers are all there for you. All you have to do is practice well enough to be able to find them all quickly.
Many people don’t know how to approach the Math section of the ACT. They worry that they need to memorize a million equations or worry that they need to review the past 3 years of math. You don’t! They give you all the equations you’ll need so you just need to be able to apply them. Here are some other tips for this section!
If two answers are opposites, one of them is almost always the answer - This is true for the ACT in general, but primarily for math.
Don’t overthink it - Many of the questions you will face will not be as challenging as you think they are; you’re probably just overthinking it. Go with your gut and move on.
Don’t memorize equations - all equations will be given to you, so you need to focus on knowing how to use the equations.
Don’t waste time on questions you don’t understand - There comes a time when you need to just accept that you don’t know how to do a question. When this happens, just make an educated guess if you can, and move on.
Don’t panic! - The Math section is going to be short. Much shorter than you want it to be. Don’t panic or let yourself spend too much time on any question or you’ll end up wasting time.
FINALLY, BE REALISTIC.
Standardized testing is highly problematic. Those who do best on the ACT or SAT have been afforded good educations that have prepared them well for this exact kind of test. Not everyone has had the same opportunities and possesses the exact abilities to do well on a test like the ACT. While it would be great to get a 30 or higher on the ACT, this isn’t a realistic goal for everyone, and it isn’t even necessary to get into a good school. Unless you want to go to a highly selective school, you don’t need a 30 on the ACT. It doesn’t make you dumb or bad at studying if you don’t get a 30+; it just means that maybe you aren’t a fast reader or your school didn’t spend a lot of time on ACT prep. That’s okay! Getting a 30 or higher on the ACT places you in the top 5% of all test takers- so don’t think that you aren’t intelligent if you didn’t score that high, because it is quite difficult to score that high!
Studying for long important exams like the DAT (me (’: ), the MCAT, or even the SAT/ACT requires a lot of time budgeting! Today I was scheduling DAT studying for the next 20 days, and I realized that a progress percentage chart would be really useful for mebecause it would allow me to plan goals such as “finish a 1084-page review book” or “watch 46 chemistry videos from the video playlist” long-term! It’s hard to put long arduous tasks like these onto a daily or even weekly schedule - for me, they seem to work better when measured by %-finished.
I made this to use for myself this morning, and then realized that it might be useful for some of you out there, too! So I’ve uploaded it to google drive so you all can use it if it will be helpful in your studies. They come in blue, pink, yellow, and grayscale (for black-and-white printing): >>DOWNLOAD HERE<<
EDIT: I’ve gotten a suggestion from a very nice anon to make the background white so the printable does not use as much ink when printed in color! >>HERE<< is the link the white-background version on GDrive :)
To use this chart, I filled out specific goals on the left hand column and colored in the progress bar in the right in accordance with the percentage of the task or goal I had finished. I also marked dates next to the progress bar so I knew when I should have finished 50%, or 75%, or 100% of a task, etc. Here’s a pic of how I used it:
-You are given cryptic instructions. Told not to question it. The test administrator runs it’s purple young over it’s needle-like teeth. You don’t question it.
-You must perfectly fill in the ovals. This is hard. They seem to move around in The page. Spelling dire warnings. You ignore that and hope this doesn’t affect your score.
-“You must write out the certification”. You do. You feel a small part of your soul leave your body.
-The air-temperature fluctuates wildly. Stifling hot. Freezing cold. The boy sitting in front of you removes his hoody and dons it once more a dozen times.
-The test administrators move along the rows to make sure no one cheats. Their tall, shadowy forms make you uneasy. As do the antlers stained with what looks like purple blood. You keep your head down and look straight ahead. A test administrator is behind you. You hear it’s heavy breathing and offer up a silent prayer.
-There is a 10-15 minute snack break. Several of the students with more cannibalistic tendencies gang up on the weaker ones. There will be good eating tonight.
-“You have five minutes remaining”. You finished this section 3 hours ago. You didn’t even study arcane sciences. Another hour has passed. Is time even real?
-A girl a few rows down is crying. You feel the dreadful chill in the air as a test ainistrator glides past you in her direction. The crying suddenly changes to a soft weeping.
-“Pencils down”. Your arm is compelled to lower your pencil to the desk. You try to fight it and cannot. It hurts.
-Some poor unfortunate kid left his ringer on. He is made an example of. You are afraid.
-All the calculators have been replaced with hovering runes. You hope these are not in the list of prohibited calculators.
-The questions are unclear. Literally blurry smudges on the test booklet. You try to focus but the bleeding hole in the ceiling commands your dread and attention.
-You are now dismissed. You are glad to have come out of it in one piece, with little or no blood loss and most of your fingers.
Hi guys! Long time no see. I’ve officially graduated high school and thought I’d make a post for all you incoming seniors about some things I’d wish I’d known senior year/some tips and tricks to help make your senior year less stressful because we all need a little less stress in our lives ha. So without further ado,
Make your college list over the summer: The summer before senior year is the time to finalize your college list. Do this by making a list of places you’re interested in and narrow it down based on fit. Try to visit if possible but if you can’t, most schools have virtual tours that you can take online. Make sure to have your list done before September. College apps are expensive and the fees for sending test scores to your respective schools add to the cost. Include at least one safety and two match schools on your list.
Get a calendar and mark all the deadlines for college apps, scholarships, testing, when test scores have to be sent in, etc. It will keep you organized and on track.
Start your essays over the summer (or at least brainstorm some ideas): You don’t necessarily have to start your college essays over the summer - I didn’t - but at least make a list of ideas, look over the prompts if they’ve been released, and familiarize yourself with common essay structures and how to write a good college essay. You should have a pretty good idea by September of what you want to include in your essays. Start them early so that you’ll get enough time to show them to your English teacher, parents, or anybody whose input you value.
While there are some topics for college essays that are too cliché and aren’t worth writing about (you can find a list here), in general, don’t be afraid of writing about something that you think will be cliché. If you give a topic an original spin and people can hear your voice and tell that it was a unique experience, you’re fine.
DON’T PLAGARIZE OR HAVE A PARENT/TEACHER/FRIEND/OTHER PERSON WRITE YOUR ESSAYS. No matter how tempted you are, just don’t. It will cause you more troubles that is worth and can get you in serious trouble (plus the moral repercussions of it). Be you and write your own essays.
Ask for your teacher recs early. This means to ask teachers by late September at the latest. Teachers need time to write your recs and chances are, you’re not the only one asking said teacher for a rec. Getting your request in early will make sure that you’ll get a letter of rec and that the teacher will have enough time to write a good letter of rec.
Ask for letters of rec from teachers you know will write something good about you. Go for teachers you’ve known for more than a year and/or teachers who know you better.
After they’ve written your letter of rec, it is customary to give your teachers a gift. A gift card, food, or a personalized gift/memento are in order.
Your counselor is your best friend. Seriously. Be prepared to spend significant time in the counselor’s office or emailing your counselor. You’ll likely have a lot of questions about the whole college apps process and that’s ok. Your counselor has done it before and is there to help you. Plus, most colleges require a counselor letter of rec so you’ll need to get to know your counselor and your counselor will have to get to know you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help because it will significantly reduce your stress.
It is also encouraged to get your counselor a gift if you feel they’ve helped you a lot. It’s a nice gesture that shows you care.
Send your test scores in at least 3 weeks before the college’s application deadline. This is super important because some colleges refuse to look at your application if your test scores aren’t in on time *cough* UMich *cough*. Plan ahead. This is why it’s good to have your college apps done early so that you’re not scrambling to send colleges your test scores two days before the deadline. If you’re taking a test in October, make sure to put all the colleges you’re applying to on the list of where you want your scores to be sent to so that the colleges will get the score in time. I had friends who sent their scores in too late and had their application bumped from early action to regular decision at a somewhat selective school where when you applied made all the difference. Seriously, send your scores in early and be done with it.
Most colleges won’t look at an unofficial score report so send the official one at all times. Don’t send paper score reports. We’re not in the 1920s.
If you’ve done all this but your scores will still be late, contact your college’s admissions office and let them know which brings me to my next point.
If you can’t find something on the college’s website or can’t find an answer to a question you have, contact the admissions office! The admissions office can give you the best answers to your questions and can help alleviate any concerns you have. Just make sure not to badger the admissions office because some colleges keep track of how many times you contact them and it can work in your disadvantage.
Don’t have your parents call in because it makes you look bad. You’re old enough to call someone and ask them a few questions.
Start looking for scholarships early. Preferably in the fall. Most of the big and prestigious scholarships have early deadlines and you don’t want to miss them. Finding the scholarships you want to apply to early gives you enough time to write the essays and get the other materials needed.
Don’t compare yourself to others. There’s no point and it causes unnecessary stress. Be confident in yourself and your application and don’t worry about where others have applied/gotten in to or about what others have put on their applications.
These are just a few points that I thought were worth mentioning. Good luck! Senior year will be over before you know it so enjoy it :)
Dwight Moore, a student at Christian Brothers High School in Memphis scored a 36 out of 36 on the college entrance exam putting him in rare company—less than one percent of the 1.9 million test takers received a perfect score in 2015.
Moore reportedly said that he thought the score was a mistake when he first saw it.
“I sat there in shock for a second. There is no way this is right,” he said. “It didn’t have the writing score so I thought this was just a placeholder for later so I am not getting my hopes up; when the writing score came out too, I actually got a 36.”
Keep goin’ man. You show that blac people are as well aducated as everybody. And even more! Nice job! I wish you succeed in becoming a kind of serious, cuz such a powerful brain deserves the best. This is a real #BlackPride!