Seven Common ACT® Mistakes

Seven Common ACT® Mistakes

Taking the ACT® can be an anxious time for any student. Frequently, preparing for the exam takes a massive amount of time and effort, which increases the level of stress many examinees feel. This stress can contribute to making mistakes that you wouldn’t normally make. Being aware of common ACT® mistakes can help to minimize the chances that you will make one of them while you are taking the exam.

Not studying enough

It is a common error to underestimate the difficulty of the ACT®, which leaves many students underprepared. Studying for the exam should begin weeks prior to taking it to give yourself a chance to feel comfortable with the question types and format.

Not taking timed practice tests

During preparation, it’s crucial to take timed practice tests, so you understand how well you will perform within the test section time constraints. This prevents you from being surprised by the time limits during the real exam.

Not allocating your time for each section wisely

Because the ACT® is a timed exam, many students tend to rush through the questions to ensure that they finish the entire portion. But the best method is to go through all of the questions first, answering the easy ones. This gives you extra time to spend on the ones that need additional thought while taking advantage of the points from questions you can answer quickly.

Not writing down your work

Writing down your work is a way of documenting your thought process. It helps you to slow down your mental processes to think things through completely. For math problems, it also allows you a quick way of double checking your work (if you have sufficient time) without having to redo an entire problem.

Not reading a question thoroughly or a passage entirely

In their rush to determine the correct answer to each question, many students simply skim a question once then look at the answers. But taking a few extra seconds to thoroughly read and re-read a question can prevent you from making a mistake due to misunderstanding. This is especially important on the English portion, which contains questions on specific passages that require full comprehension. Be sure to read and re-read (if necessary) questions and passages before considering any answers.

Not guessing, when necessary

There is no penalty for guessing on the ACT®, so examinees should be sure to answer every single question on the exam. If it appears you are running out of time, begin to guess on the questions that aren’t easy to answer.

Not selecting the “no change” or “no error” option

Many students think questions with an option of “no change” or “no error” are trick questions. Unfortunately, in some of these instances, these choices are correct. It’s important to carefully assess each question, but if your instinct is telling you that everything looks good, don’t be scared to select that option.

While taking the ACT® can be a stressful experience, it’s important not to let the stress get the best of you. Proper preparation, studying, and planning to avoid these mistakes can help to calm your nerves and ensure that you can focus properly during the actual exam.

Check out our FREE practice for the ACT® here.

Seven Common ACT Mistakes

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