How to Cram for the ACT

As the December date for the nationwide ACT exam draws closer, many students begin to grow more frazzled by the minute. The demanding onset of assignments, tests and finals tend to add an enormous amount of stress on high school students, and just managing their busy schedules can end up taking priority over studying for the ACT. As a high school senior, I remember my time preparing for the ACT and putting it off for as long as possible. Eventually- about a week before the test date- I sat down at my desk and thought about how to start studying. Luckily, I had taken an ACT prep course offered by the school earlier in the year, but I was still madly worried about the math section.

My advice to all students preparing to take the ACT is not anything different from everything else they’ve been hearing- get a good night’s rest the night before, because a loss of attention or energy during testing time can make a big difference. Use whatever tools you know help you learn- whether that’s rote memorization, mnemonic devices, or taking a practice test over and over again. It can be helpful for many students to take a practice test at least once, and stop in between sections to go back over what you missed or judge what helped you or what slowed you down. Making mental notes to help you remember what works for you is a crucial element to succeeding on the test! 

However, I’m well aware of the panic that accompanies any typical student the night before taking the ACT. Slow down, take a deep breath, and start easy. It can be simplest for students to just sit down and start reading a prep book, or researching past tests. It’s also very wise to go over specific subjects that you know you struggle with, in order to refresh your memory and clarify any missing connections. I sincerely hope that all the students getting ready for the ACT this December will take the time to put the care into studying that they deserve.


By Brynn Sailing

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