So you’re looking to study in the States, right? We are sure you must have heard about the ACT (American College Testing). Still stressing over it, huh? Don’t worry we are here to help you out. We will guide you on preparing for the ACT, test practice, courses, tips, and tricks. This is the ultimate guide you should follow to get a good ACT score, and our preparation tips will help you ace the ACT examination.
What is ACT?
Many colleges in the USA require students to take the ACT entrance exam as a part of their admission process. The objective of this multiple-choice test is to assess a high school student’s college readiness and provide colleges with a single point of comparison for all applicants.
The pattern of the ACT Exam
The test has four main ACT sections: English, Mathematics, Reading and Science. There are further sub-sections of each section which are given below. We will be discussing these sections in detail below.
As candidates say, English is the easiest among the other ACT sections.
Time: 45 minutes
Number of questions: 75 MCQs
Score based on: sentence structure, rhetorical skills, punctuation, and grammar
Time: 60 minutes
Number of questions: 60 Multiple choice questions
Score based on: Algebra I and II, geometry and trigonometry
Time: 40 minutes
Number of questions: 40 Multiple choice questions
Score based on: Four passages (humanities, social studies, prose fiction, and natural sciences
Time: 40 minutes
Number of questions: 35 Multiple-choice questions
Score based on: Questions about scientific passages with graphs, charts, tables, and research summaries.
How to prepare for ACT English
The ACT English Test consists of multiple-choice questions following each passage. In this section, the questions asked will fall into 3 categories and they are Production of Writing, Knowledge of Language and Conventions of Standard English.
To succeed in this section, you need to imagine yourself as the writer or an editor. These are a few tips to prepare for ACT English.
- Take a few ACT English practice tests.
- Read everything, and do not skim sentences in your question paper.
- Make yourself familiar with the ACT’s rules of grammar.
How to prepare for ACT Math
This section covers mathematical skills that students acquire till 12th grade, so this won’t be hard with practice. These are some of the tips you can follow or use to prepare for ACT Math.
- Keep practising the basics, concepts and formulas.
- Give enough time for each of the sub-section of this section.
- Practice and imbibe integrating essential skills
How to prepare for ACT Reading
This section requires you to read and comprehend all of the text and answer the questions by searching the text and using your reasoning and interpretation skills. In this section, the categories for the questions asked are key Ideas and details, craft and structure, integration of knowledge and ideas, and visual and quantitative information. These are the following tips to prepare for ACT Reading.
- Practice reading and take ACT reading tests.
- Practice with a timer.
- If you have been given line references to find your answer, do not search outside them.
- Reading the pre-passage descriptions often helps with some answers.
How to prepare for ACT Science
The Science Test assesses your knowledge of the aforementioned science subjects' interpretation, analysis, evaluation, reasoning, and problem-solving skills. These are a few of the tips to help you prepare for ACT Science.
- Make sure to brush up on your previous knowledge.
- Practice old ACT papers.
- Practice visuals and figures.
How to prepare for ACT Writing
The optional ACT writing test is administered following the previous four tests. The writing test consists of a 40-minute essay that assesses your writing abilities. The categories you will be scored on are idea and analysis, development and support, organisation, and language use and conventions. These are a few of the tips to help you prepare for ACT Science.
- Keep practising your writing skills.
- Read frequently to help with your writing.
- Practice well-organised writing.
General Tips and Tricks on how to prepare for ACT
These are some general ACT tips and tricks to help you prepare better, efficiently and effectively.
1. Practice Everyday
Practice, Practice, Practice! It is all about practising as much as you can. Practising is the key to prepare for the ACT exam. You will need to decide a time to practice every day. ACT prep requires you to make a proper schedule that is not exaggerated and is practical, and can be followed daily. Regularity over sudden spikes works more efficiently for ACT prep.
2. Use free ACT prep mock tests available
You are just one google search away from the free test available on the web. Yes, you can get a head start on your ACT prep by utilising all available (and trustworthy) free resources. Here are a few you can start with right away:
You can find ACT prep material on the official ACT website. You will need to log in and then proceed to the test. This is one of the best ways to prepare for ACT.
3. Try to look at the areas where you are struggling
After you give the mock test and know your score, you will have a clear idea of what are the areas where you need to improve. After knowing your scores, you will have a clear idea for preparing for the ACT in your weaker areas. Identifying your weak areas after giving the mock test is very important. Starting early and giving the practice test will allow you more space to identify where you are lacking.
4. Focus on the most frequently tested topics
While doing your ACT prep, there will be a wide range of topics that you will be studying for. So make sure you cover the most important and frequently tested topics. The more you practice, the more efficient you will become in solving that particular concept.
5. Set a target score
After you have some skills and knowledge of the ACT test, you can now set a target score for yourself, which will also help you to improve with a set target. Ensure that your target score is realistic, which you can achieve. Setting a target score is also an effective way of preparing for the ACT. Don’t set an unrealistic target score for yourself. You need to know that there needs to be space for improvement along with the practice.
6. Set weekly ACT prep
Set a time for yourself and do your weekly ACT test prep. Even if you are only doing one or two passages, keep track of time as you work through the practice questions. The time allotted to each section in the ACT test is very limited. To prepare for ACT, you'll need to practise reading, scanning, and answering questions quickly.
7. Study the familiar topics closer to the ACT test date
When you are closer to the test date, you should pay close attention to the familiar topics instead of jumping on the new ones. Reviewing familiar topics is the best way to brush up on what you already know. Trying to learn too many things, in the end, won’t help you in any way.
Books to buy for ACT
Listed below are some of the books that you can buy for your ACT test preparations.
- The Official ACT Prep Guide 2021-2022
- Princeton Review ACT Premium Prep, 2021
- ACT Prep Black Book
- ACT Prep Plus 2022
- Barron’s ACT Study Guide Premium 2022-2023
- McGraw 10 ACT Practice Tests
Preparing for the ACT may seem like a daunting task, but with proper planning, dedication, and these tips for ACT, you can be well on your way to achieving a great score. Start by taking a practice test to determine your strengths and weaknesses. Then, focus on areas of improvement, such as brushing up on your math or English skills. Finally, create a study plan that fits your schedule and stick to it. With the right preparation, you can be confident and prepared for the ACT.
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