Tips for taking the ACT exam

The ACTฎ test assesses high school students' general educational development and their ability to complete college-level work.
• The multiple-choice tests cover four skill areas: English, mathematics, reading, and science.

• The Writing Test, which is optional, measures skill in planning and writing a short essay.



General Tips:
• 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:
• 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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