The ACT is one of the most popular standardized tests for college admissions in the United States. This test comprises of 5 sections: English, Mathematics, Reading, Science Reasoning and Writing(optional). Each section’s score range is between 1-36, except the writing test which has a score range between 1-12. Scoring an outstanding ACT score is not a cakewalk for any aspirant. You definitely need to employ constructive study plans and devote ample amount of study time into it. So how do you think you can ace the test? Let’s explore.
Acing the ACT implies that you need to score over 30. Scoring good grades will definitely make you competitive for admission to prestigious colleges. This also increases your chance to excel in college admissions and opens up new avenues for your future. Depending on your college goals, compute your target score and determine what works best for you.
In general, most students expect their final ACT scores to be lower than their mock tests, owing to stress and unexpected test conditions. Although the difference is not always a matter of concern. Regardless of whether you are aiming for a higher score, be certain to prepare yourself to reach your goals. The focus is the key to achieve the desired goal you are aiming at. Don’t deviate from the plan. Maintain a structured study strategy to prepare and excel in the ACT.
How much time should you devote to studying ACT?
There is no set answer to this question. Your study hours are totally dependent on your test preparation and target score. A lot depends on what are the different areas you are weak at. You need to improve your study plan accordingly so that you can achieve your goal.
In case you are taking the ACT for the first time, try to take an official simulated mock test to get a feel of the real test conditions. This would let you know where you stand and determine how much you need to improve yourself. Remember to reach your goal, every single point improvement takes about 10 hours approximately. This is a rough estimate to give you a basic idea of the amount of time you need to devote to excel in the ACT. So plan accordingly.
Meanwhile, focus on your shortcomings and analyze your mistakes. Make the best use of your study time by focusing on why it is amiss in answering some questions and how you can improve your weaknesses. Thoroughly examine the questions which were wrong. Keep practising questions and try to figure out where and why you’re making mistakes. This would in a way help you to capture your shortcomings and correct them.
Boost your confidence
Practice ain’t enough. Assess your confidence level before you take up the ACT. Introspect if you’re ready to take it. Analyse how you feel about the preparation. Always remember that even a well-prepared student may be nervous about his/her preparation and how to tackle the test.
Acquaint yourself with the best study strategies and test techniques to boost your confidence on the test day. Read the official ACT guides and detailed books, check out free online ACT tutorials to get a brief understanding of the test patterns.
One key pointer to take the ACT is that there is no penalty for incorrect answers. Negative marking sometimes brings down the morale of students. But not to worry, you’re in a safe zone. It's in your best interest to answer every single question. In case you're clueless on a specific question, you can totally capitalize on guesswork. This means you have a rare probability of picking the correct answer to the specific multiple choice question.
But yes, make sure that there is proper time management from your end to answer all the questions. Just in case you’re running out of time, remember your goal is not to attempt all questions but to concentrate on getting more correct answers for the ones that you have attempted. Try to eliminate incorrect answers, especially if you’re are cent percent not sure or confident of your answer. Ensure that you finish the test with some extra time on your hands to recheck your work. This serves as a good practice to reevaluate the questions attempted.
By following these tips, you can avert strategy errors. These would also enable you to correctly answer questions in a better, quicker and efficient manner.
In my opinion, the best approach to determine if you are geared up for the test is to gauge your scores on a timed simulated practice test. Check if these scores conform to your goals. It’s always better if you have scored a good score which is required in prospective colleges. But just in case, you haven’t fared well, try to capture the weaklings and work harder to resolve and master them.
Strive harder, you are geared and ready to roll!