Posts Tagged ‘improve your ACT score’

5 Ways to Improve Your ACT Score

January 9, 2021

As a test prep coach, students frequently ask me how they can improve their score on the ACT. Since I have been providing test prep for high school students for more than twenty years, I have a few tips that will help students succeed on this important test.

1. FAMILIARIZE YOURSELF WITH THE ACT 
The ACT consists of four sections: English, math, reading, and science reasoning. Each section requires its own individual approach. Take time to understand the format of each section and the best way to tackle it. Read and make sure you understand the directions so you do not need to waste time on them when you take the actual ACT. The more comfortable you are with the test, the easier it will be to improve your score on the ACT.

2. USE GUESSING TO YOUR ADVANTAGE 
There is no penalty foe guessing on the ACT so I suggest you waste no time on questions if you don’t have a clue what the question is asking. See if you can eliminate some answers and then make a guess between what is left. You can always circle the number of the question and come back to it later if you have a minute or two at the end of the section.

3. MAKE THE BEST USE OF YOUR TIME 
Most students find the time constraints on the ACT a problem. You need to decide what questions can be answered more quickly and which you should leave until later. The science section seems to be the most difficult to finish on time. I suggest students skip one passage on the science test and try to be more accurate on their answers on the other six passages. When practicing on the ACT, it is important to time yourself on each test and figure out how to pace yourself.

4. WORK ON BOTH YOUR STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES 
Most colleges are interested in the ACT composite score. Your goal is to do what you can to improve that score. If you are strong in English, try to become even stronger. If math is your weakness, don’t try to learn new math at this time. Make sure you do the math questions you know how to do and don’t make stupid mistakes.

5. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE 
There is no substitute for practice if you want to improve your score on the ACT. Practice on real tests and go over every question you miss. Make sure you understand the reasoning behind the correct answer. On the reading section, check any questions you miss and return to the passage to find the supporting information for the right answer. If you are motivated enough to be successful on your ACT practice at home, then do it. If you need a class or some individual test prep, Google “test prep” and the city you live in and find out what is available.

10 Tips and Strategies to Improve Your ACT Score

September 5, 2012

Many high school seniors will be taking the ACT test on September 8 and October 27 this fall.   It is a mental marathon and stressful experience for many students.  Most colleges and universities use the ACT not only for admission purposes, but also for scholarships.

Some might argue that preparing to take the ACT is a waste of time.  As a private college counselor and test prep coach, I would have to disagree.  Students might not always make large gains in their total composite score, but frequently a one or two point improvement can make a difference.

While some students may be too busy to do a lengthy test prep course, if they can squeeze in a short course or review, it is probably worth doing.  Regardless, here are 10 strategies and tips to improve your ACT score.

1.  Memorize the directions for each section of the ACT before you take the test.  There is no sense in wasting time reading them during the actual testing period.

2.  Learn or relearn math formulas because they are not listed on the math section. Review all the math that you took previous to Algebra I.

3.  Wake up at least one hour before taking the test.  You need at least that amount of time to be mentally alert.

4.  Eat a good breakfast and work a few ACT questions.  It will prepare you to get started as soon as the test begins.

5.  Arrive early at the test center.  Give yourself enough time to find your room and relax before you start the ACT.  Don’t be rushed or you set yourself up for anxiety during the test.

6.  Wear a watch and monitor your own time.  Learn how to pace yourself so you are neither going too fast nor too slow.  Use all of the time each section allows.

7.  Take a few deep breaths before and between sections.  If you feel unfocused or anxious during the test, put down your pencil, close your eyes, and count backward slowly from 100 to 90.

8.  Have a snack for the break and bring a bottle of water.  Dehydration is one of the biggest causes of fuzzy thinking on any standardized test.  Drink enough water so this does not affect your ACT score.

9.  There is no penalty for guessing on the ACT so every oval on your answer sheet needs to be filled in, whether you actually answered the question or not.  At least you can guess.

10. Utilize the process of elimination to get rid of incorrect answers.  It is always easier to spot wrong answers than right ones.

There is nothing wrong with taking the ACT more than once or twice.  Colleges are interested in the best scores you get and will use them to determine eligibility for admission and scholarships.

College Direction in Denver, Colorado will have a six week test prep course for the ACT beginning on September 17.  There is also a short online course that is beneficial for students who are motivated to practice on their own.