General Tips

ACT Test Taking Tips, Clock
  • Answer the questions you find easiest first. Come back to the others later.
  • Don't spend more than a minute or two on any question.
  • As you work on a section, keep track of how much time remains. (It's a good idea to bring a reliable watch.)
  • Answer every question. There is no penalty for guessing.
  • Be careful to mark only one answer choice per question.
  • Write in the test book in any way that will help you.
  • Consider all answer choices before you choose one. Use the process of elimination to narrow your choices.

English Section Tips

  • Consider the writing style used for each section. The correct answer choice will be the one that works best with the writing style used.
  • When asked a question about something that is underlined, consider how the underlined portion fits with the rest of the section.
  • Examine each answer choice to see how it differs from the others.
  • For items that include "No Change" as an answer choice, choose this as your answer only if you are sure none of the other answer choices are correct.
  • Reread the underlined portion with your answer choice to be sure it is correct.

Reading Section Tips

  • Read the passage carefully before you read the questions.
  • Focus on the main ideas in the passage. Underline these. Don't get lost in the details.
  • Try to identify how ideas in the passage are connected.
  • Refer back to the passage as you answer each question.

Mathematics Section Tips

  • Work out the problem before looking at the answer choices. When done, choose the answer choice that matches your answer. If none match, redo the problem.
  • Don't overly rely on your calculator. Some problems are best worked out manually. Some don't even require calculation.
  • The questions focus much more on reasoning than on calculation. If you find yourself doing complicated calculations, you're probably on the wrong track.
  • Make sure your answer choice makes sense. A calculation error can lead you to a wrong answer choice.
  • Check your work.

Science Section Tips

ACT Test Taking Tips, Test Tubes
  • Given the complexity of the passages, it may help to make some simple notes as you read them.
  • Cross out irrelevant information.
  • Don't be overly concerned with any technical terminology. Technical terms usually have little to do with the correct answer choice.
  • Be watchful for conflicting viewpoints in some of the passages.

Writing Section Tips

  • Organization of your response is very important. Use a five-paragraph essay that includes an introduction, supporting paragraphs, and a conclusion.
  • Plan your response before you begin to write it.
  • Stay with the topic throughout your response.
  • Vary your sentence structure and word choices.
  • Use specific examples wherever possible.
  • Write legibly.
  • If you have time, check your grammar, usage, punctuation, and spelling.


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