ACT Test-Taking Strategies

Many colleges use the ACT to help determine which applicants to accept. From preparation strategies to the secrets of time management on test day, here are some helpful tips and tricks for excelling on this crucial exam.

ACT Test-Taking Strategies
Text version

Many colleges use the ACT to help determine which applicants to accept. Here are some helpful tips and tricks for excelling on this crucial exam.
 

  1. Start preparing long in advance
    Relax the day before the test, and get good, restful sleep.
     

  2. Learn the structure of the ACT
    Use practice tests to get used to how the test works.
     

  3. Use your test booklet
    Write down thoughts in the booklet and keep your answer sheet clean.
     

  4. Avoid changing your answer
    Your instinct is often right. Change answers only if you're sure they're wrong.
     

  5. Start with the easy questions
    Skip the hard ones and go back later if you have enough time.
     

  6. Don't be afraid to guess
    Just use the process of elimination to remove clearly wrong answers.
     

  7. Know how to manage your time
    Don't spend too much time on any one question.
     

  8. Be prepared
    The facility may not have an accurate clock, so bring your own stopwatch if permitted.
     

  9. Read questions in their entirety
    Don't assume you know what a question is asking.
     

  10. Don't forget your test strategies
    Don't let nerves get the best of you; stick to your strategies.