ACT Tips

This year, the all-junior ACT will be on March 7 while non-juniors will have the day off. Testing will begin at 8:00 AM and end at about 1:15 PM. As test day is approaching quickly, here are some last-minute tips on how to best prepare.


For the weeks leading up to the test:

Review Concepts. Do some reading over of concepts that you find trickier. These could be math equations, grammar rules, or reading passage tips. If you are able to, review these every night before the day of the test to try and solidify them.

Do a few practice questions. Even more useful than reviewing concepts is actually doing some problems to implement them. Do a few questions from each section (or the sections that you find the most difficult) each night to help build up muscle memory. 

Write down which questions you got wrong.

By logging down which questions you get wrong, you can try to find patterns in concepts or ideas that give you difficulty. Record your mistakes so that you can see your progress over time, and most effectively and efficiently hone in on a few key concepts.


Tips for the days leading up to the test:

Review Concepts. Do some last minute review over key ideas and concepts that you are still having trouble with. You want to make sure to absorb every last bit of information you can!

Do a few practice questions. Try to maintain a habit of doing a few practice problems up until the test, perhaps with the exception of the night before so you can relax. This will keep up your test-taking skills so you can be more confident in yourself in the exam; you don’t want to slow down on the real test due to a lack of practice beforehand.

Get a good night’s sleep. It is vital that you rest up before the test. Not having quality sleep will mean slower thinking time, and on a test based on speed, that can be detrimental to your performance. However, you want to make sure that you maintain healthy sleeping habits in at least the week leading up the test to be in optimal condition. If you cannot, definitely make sure that you get at least 8 hours the day before the test.

Prepare snacks and pencils. Make sure to gather your materials before test day so that you aren’t left scrambling during the morning to pack your bag. Nothing is worse than the fear of being late because you can’t find your ID and test-taking materials.


For the Day of the Test:

Eat a balanced breakfast. You don’t want to take the test on an empty stomach! However, you need to make sure you’re eating the right foods. Try to include some protein and fiber in a healthy breakfast so you have the energy for four hours of testing, and stay away from processed sugary foods like donuts, which can cause an energy crash.

Get to JMM early. The test will start at 8:00 AM promptly, but you need to be there at 7:40 to ensure that you get to the correct room so you can start bubbling before 8. Don’t let yourself become stressed about running late, as this will mess with your calamity and your test performance.

Take some deep breaths. Before you begin the test, take a few deep breaths to help calm you down. Focus on the fact that you prepared and are going to do exactly what you have done in your practice sessions.

Relax. If you prepared, then you will do great! Try to stay calm and relax so that you don’t freeze up during the exam. And if you didn’t prepare as much as you would have liked, remember that a test score does not define your character or your opportunities!


By Jessica Jiang

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