Top 7 ACT Tips & Tricks for Maths, Science, English, Reading

ACT Tips: There is no secret to cracking the ACT exam, but what can be offered is a set of ACT tips and tricks which give you an edge over the other test takers. The ACT, also known as the American College Testing, is a test that you must take in order to be admitted to undergrad and college programs in the United States and Canada. This is a must for all international students. So, if you are a non-native test taker, you might want to explore this ACT preparation tips article listing all the smart strategies that will help you ace the test.

Preparing for any competitive test takes time, and the ACT exam is no exception. So, make sure you start employing these tips early on. If you have started late, don’t worry! We also have last-minute ACT tips which will make your exam ready quickly. Read below to know exactly what tips you need for your ACT test preparation.

Top Act Tips and Tricks To Reach Your Target Score

There is no way to pass the ACT exam without studying. However, if you want to crack the ACT with less effort which can also maximize your test scores, then here are the 7 coolest ACT exam preparation tips.

Tip #1: Practice the ACT Test Pattern and Simulate a Test Environment

Familiarizing yourself with a test pattern will give you heavy leverage and prepare you for the actual ACT test. You can familiarise yourself with the test by means of the following steps:

  • Take a previous year's question paper.
  • Set a time slot that matches the amount of time you get on the ACT exam.
  • Position yourself in a quiet room wherein you can focus without distractions.
  • Solve the question paper and try to stick to the time limit.

This method helps students have a firm grasp of a set of things that are:

  • Students learn time management.
  • This helps them get over exam anxiety.
  • Students are accustomed to the kinds of questions that come on the ACT test.
  • The students' average speed increases more as they practice for their ACT test in the limited time slot.
  • The concentration intensity of students also increases.

This is a major thing that all students should sincerely invest their time in.

Tip #2: Practice ACT Mock Test

Nothing beats constant practice. You can only build up your skills from beginner to advanced by practicing the questions regularly. You can incorporate "constant practice" as your primary test-taking strategy. Here are a few things you will gain after hours of practicing for the test:

  • You will be less likely to misunderstand the question instructions of the ACT test because you will be accustomed to them after carefully practising them.
  • The more you practise, the more you recognise your weaknesses and build on them.
  • The more you practise, the better your problem-solving attitude and speed.
  • Practice makes you more confident in your preparation and your on-the-spot answers.

How to practice effectively?

  • A student can make use of ACT-style practice tests. They are available for free online or can also be taken by using paid services.
  • Go through all that you have learned a decent number of times so that you can memorize them better.

Tip #3: Set Your Own Time Management Schedule

Time management is probably the most dreaded and most crucial aspect of the ACT test preparation process. Everyone should focus intensely on a well-made schedule and stick to it during preparation. Time management is an achievement that is looked up to in every aspect of your life be it your daily lifestyle or your test prep.

Time management is also a big deal when it comes to allocating the amount of time you spend answering each question. Here are some of the questions that often come to students’ minds:

  • How much time should you invest in solving each question?
  • How should you deal with hard questions when there are others remaining?
  • What to attempt and what to leave out when time is running short?
  • How to know that you are sticking to the stipulated time?
  • How to know if you are making the right choice on a question you are really unsure about?

To answer your questions, here are some of the ways in which you can create a successful time management strategy. You can categorize various approaches to various questions by:

  • Do it right now: This works for all questions that are common in the exam. If you know the right approach, get it done first!
  • Do it later: When you are unsure about a question but know that you can work it out if you spend enough time on it, leave it for later.
  • Don’t do the question at all: If you have no clue as to how to approach a question, then leave it. Don’t waste your time trying to make the impossible possible during an exam.

Here’s a good ACT section-wise time management strategy:

Subject Total No. of questions Total time provided Total time per question you should allow % of test-takers who score college level
English 75 40 minutes 36 seconds 60%
Maths 60 60 minutes 1 minute 30%
Reading 40 35 minutes 50 seconds 45%
Science 40 40 minutes 54 seconds 35%
Writing 1 40 minutes 40 minutes About 40% scores around 8 or above on a scale of 2-12

Subject-Wise Last Minute ACT Tips

The subject-wise last-minute ACT tips are given below:

Tip #4: Test Taking Strategies & ACT Tips for English Section

The ACT English section comprises five passages, each followed by multiple-choice questions. Through these questions, your reading skills, comprehension skills, grammar skills, and Theoretical skills will be judged. If acing the English section in ACT appears challenging to you, here are a few preparation mantras that will help your approach and better your result:

  1. Memorize the 4 C's: Complete sentences, Consistent, Clear, and Concise. Ensuring that your sentences are complete and have a consistent rhythmic flow is important. Also, be sure that you write concise, to-the-point answers in clear, lucid language.
  2. Learn all the grammar rules and their practical usage. Have a good grasp of the following: Subject-verb agreement, pronoun agreement, adjectives and adverbs, punctuation, comparisons and superlatives, conjunctions.
  3. Read aloud the phrases. Your well-trained ear will alert you if something sounds off. Grammatical and spelling errors are common. So, always double-check and trust your ears.
  4. Be alert while choosing the "No-Change" answers. This is a really tricky thing to choose. It might be tempting, but make sure you are aware of the grammatical nuances.
  5. Eliminate the wrong choices.
  6. Read the paragraph or question carefully before answering.

Tip #5: Test Taking Strategies and ACT Tips for Reading Section

The ACT Reading section consists of 40 questions. The test duration is 35 minutes in which you are to read, comprehend, and answer questions based on 4,750-word long passages. These passages usually cover topics from prose fiction or a piece of literary narrative, social science, natural science, and the humanities.

While going through the passage, a student must make themselves aware of the theme, tone, intent, and the message conveyed. These are the parts from which questions are framed. Check the following:

  • Read and re-read the passage carefully without getting distracted.
  • Focus on the main words and phrases of the passage.
  • Read the questions carefully and understand what has been asked.
  • Intuit the incorrect answers and eliminate them if you are unsure about the question.
  • Start with the passage that seems easy and relatable to you.

Tip #6: Test Taking Strategies and ACT Tips for Mathematics Section

The ACT Maths section comprises 60 questions. In this 60-minute exam, you will be required to solve questions based on Numbers (10%), Algebra (15%), Geometry (15%), Statistics and Probability (10%), Function (15%), Integrating Essential Skills (20%), and Modeling (> 30%). Here are a few strategies to help you solve math problems more effectively:

  • Backsolve Do speed maths and try to solve the problem faster in a non-traditional manner. Students are allotted only 60 seconds to solve a sum.
  • Read the question and sincerely use the information provided to you in the question. Sometimes, that is the answer too.
  • Do not continue to answer questions whose solution seems far away. Do not let one question deter you from a bigger point of view.
  • Try to use the right method always. If you are using the right approach, you will get the right answer.
  • Do not depend heavily on calculators for your math exams since they will only help you solve basic calculations.
  • Double check all your calculations if possible.
  • Be very cautious about "trap" answers. These are very common mistakes that students make. Do not assume; solve to the end.

Tip #7: Test Taking Strategies and ACT Tips for Science Section

The ACT Science section requires you to complete 40 questions in 35 minutes. So, you have a little more than 50 seconds to solve each question. The Science sections consist of seven passages followed by four to seven questions.

They ask you questions on various scientific topics. Some of them are experiment summaries, graphs, charts, scientific opinions, new science trends, scientific findings, data on scientists, etc.

More specifically, you need to give 30–40% importance to data representation, 45–55% attention to research summaries and a 20% focus on conflicting perspectives. Data representation necessitates that the student has a firm grasp on the comprehension of data presented in tables and graphs.

Research summaries require students to analyze and find out the outcomes of experiments. Conflicting Viewpoint questions test your ability to compare and analyze two different points of view. Check these out-

  • You can take short notes in your notebook since science problems are usually complex and your concentration may get scattered.
  • Eliminate the unnecessary bits from the passage so that you don't get confused.
  • Solve conflicting viewpoints at the end, since they take the longest.
  • Make sure you practise reading science passages carefully before answering.

FAQs on ACT Tips

The frequently asked questions on ACT preparation tips are given below:

1. How can I raise my ACT score fast?

Follow the above-given tips on test prep and remember to consistently practice learning new concepts every day and solve the previous year's ACT papers.

2. Is it better to leave questions on the ACT or guess the answers?

You will suffer no penalty even if you answer wrong. So, it's better to guess and trust your intuition rather than leave out valuable marks.

3. How to Pass the ACT Without Studying?

The straightforward answer is no. You cannot score high on the ACT without studying, and you most likely won’t get into good schools. So, follow the ACT test strategies given above to score high.


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