10 Tips to Increase Your ACT Score
So you’re trying to improve your score on the ACT but not sure how? With so many resources, it can be hard to know where to start. Look no further because you’ve come to the right place! Here are 10 easy-to-follow tips for increasing your score.
Prior to test day
1. Set a goal, and make a plan
The first step to successfully improving your score is setting a goal. Be sure to have a target score that you wish to achieve. Then, set a plan for how you will get there. This includes setting a test date, scheduling study time, and gathering review materials. Lucky for you, we have some great ACT study materials free of charge!
2. Analyze your prior score report, and identify areas for improvement
One key to success for improving your score is knowing and understanding your strengths and weaknesses. If this isn’t your first try on the ACT, review your previous score report and identify areas where you scored low. Focus your study on these sections and topics. Don’t neglect to sharpen up on the skills you may already feel confident on, though.
3. Practice testing time management
One of the most common problems with the ACT is time. Teach yourself how to manage your time by timing yourself on test sections and skills. Also, learn not to spend too much time on any one question. Answer the questions you are most confident about first, and then come back to the ones you skipped later.
4. Work to beat test anxiety
If you scored much lower on the test than you did on practice tests, then there is a chance you fell victim to test anxiety. This can be overcome with practice and more test-taking experience. Work to improve this by making your practice tests mimic the testing environment in both time and resources available.
5. Practice your reading speed and comprehension
The ACT requires a lot of reading in a very limited timeframe. To improve your score on the reading/language arts sections, you need to become adept at reading and comprehending quickly. Practice timing yourself on individual excerpts and questions to train yourself how to pull out the most important information by skimming through text.
6. Memorize your math skills
Sometimes, there is no getting around memorization. This is true for ACT math. Memorize the formulas and skills you need for the test. Practice them regularly and be able to execute your math skills under pressure. Again, skip what you don’t know immediately and come back to give them more time later in the test.
7. Take frequent breaks to prevent burnout
This is true of your study and on test day. Plan your study time to allow for short breaks periodically. Take a walk and get the blood flowing so you can focus for your next study session. Additionally, take advantage of the breaks provided during the test. There are no points awarded for powering through the test without a break.
On Test Day
8. Get plenty of sleep the night before and wake up early on test day
Do not plan on studying the night before the test. Do something fun that helps you relax and get to bed early. Wake up early the day of the test, and eat a good breakfast. The last thing you want is a hungry stomach distracting you during the test.
9. Never leave a question blank
The ACT does not penalize you for guessing. Essentially, a blank answer is worth the same number of points as a wrong answer—zero. If you are running out of time and have more questions to answer than you think you have time for, then fill in bubbles! An answer gives you a 20%–25% chance of a right answer while a blank gives you 0% chance.
10. Jot down everything you remember
After the test, “brain dump” everything you remember seeing on the test. Do this as soon as you can while the test is still fresh in your mind. Writing down what you remember can help you further focus your study if you decide to take the test again. This, in turn, can help you increase your score the next time.
Follow these tips and tricks to increase your score, and remember, there is always room for improvement! Good luck!
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