Your Simple Study Guide to the ACT

There are only three ACT test dates remaining for 2014! Be sure to visit www.actstudent.org to register and create your student account. The upcoming dates are as follows:

  • Saturday, September 13
  • Saturday, October 25
  • Saturday, December 13

When preparing for the exam, you will want to follow some general guidelines. Here are some basics to consider:

KNOW THE FORMAT. Become familiar with the ACT. Scores range from 1-36. There are 4 multiple choice tests which include English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science.  Additionally, there is an optional Writing section. Each section is designed to measure your academic achievement in major areas of high school. Purchase the Real ACT Prep Guide and take an official practice test to review your score. Once you know your strengths and challenges, you will know where you need to focus as you begin your studies.

PREP LOCATION. It is critical that you concentrate so you don’t passively learn test taking strategies. Be sure to study in a quiet location with plenty of workspace. It is beneficial to be away from home where you can get distracted. This includes the virtual world as well – set aside your iPhone so that Facebook, Twitter, and texting don’t pull you away from precious study time.

MONITOR YOUR PROGRESS. Remember that the ACT is content based. Begin with studying 30 minutes a day, three days per week. See if you are improving on your weakest subject and if progress is slow, add an additional 10 minutes per day. Don’t fall for “cramming.” Set up reasonable goals and frequently review in small doses. Be sure to take breaks. Try to find a specific time each day to review. Having a consistent schedule will keep you in the habit of studying leading up to test day. This will help with memorization as you digest various strategies and content.

REVIEW YOUR RESOURCES. It is recommended that you take an ACT Prep Course to get the most out of your studies. Be sure log into your official ACT student account for additional self study guidelines and test taking tips. Utilize Practice Questions and answer the Question of the Day. The ACT Facebook page offers info graphics and details on how to break down the test. Reviewing the official guide with these added visuals will make your studying more effective.

TEST DAY PREP. You’ll feel psychologically ready for ACT by preparing the day before. Get a full nights rest and dress comfortably on test day. Print your registration ticket to bring to the testing center. You will need to have a photo ID as well in order to be checked in. Be sure you are aware of the location and reporting time (usually at 8AM). Pack yourself a snack and water to have during the break.  Other materials you’ll want to bring include several No. 2 pencils (with good erasers!) and permitted calculator for the mathematics section. All other items will not be allowed into the testing room. Specific details on test day can be reviewed at www.actstudent.org. Best of luck to you in  your studies!

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By Shay Davis