Quick Tricks and Tips for the ACT

November 21, 2017

Doing some last minute cramming for the ACT? Here are some quick tips that can help boost your scores before you take the test. Good luck!

ACT English:

  • Choose the most clear and concise answer
  • Make sure the answer choice you choose provides the right amount of information for the sentence to make grammatical sense.
  • Read the paragraph before looking at the answer choices
  • Double check all other options before selecting “no change”
  • A rule of thumb is that “no change” should comprise about 25-30% of all answer choices

ACT Math:

  • Pay attention to diagrams
  • these guys will give you clues about the best answer choice
  • Plug in answers or numbers
  • Oftentimes, it may be fast to just plug in the 5 answer choices into an algebraic equation and see which one is right than to actually solve it
  • Additionally, instead of working with variables, it may help you to plug in arbitrary numbers to work out a problem

ACT reading:

  • Read the passages that you feel are your strongest areas
  • Skim passages and focus on the main ideas
  • When you get to questions about details, then you can reread specific parts

ACT science:

  • Use the visuals!
  • Because your are in a time crunch, go straight for the graphs to make sense of the data

ACT essay:

  • Pre-plan a general template for your essay
  • Have examples from art, history, literature, and personal experience ready and be able to adapt them to different prompts
  • Focus on improving the quality of your intro and conclusion paragraphs
  • The essay graders will focus on these aspects of your essay

Last-Minute Overall Tips:

  • Skip and come back to hard questions
  • This one is a no-brainer, but it can be hard to just give up at times
  • Use the process of elimination
  • Don’t bubble as you go- bubble at the end of a section
  • This will save you a lot of time
  • Answer every question! There’s no penalty for guessing
  • Have confidence! You’ve prepared for this and you deserve a good score

Derek Cheung