The ACT is often a nerve-wracking test for many students. It can determine which college you get into, and if the goal is to get into your dream school, a good ACT score can be crucial to whether or not you’re admitted. Sometimes the stress gets to students and results in a test score they aren’t satisfied with. Luckily there are many resources and strategies that can be used to do well on this important exam both on the first time around, as well as on a retake.
A major tip is to start studying early. Don’t wait until the last minute and try and cram in studying the night before as this will stress you out more. One thing to study that can help you do well is the structure and format of the ACT questions. According to prep.scholar.com, they stated that knowing how much time you have for each test, and the number of questions in each can help you figure out the pace you need to take each test to complete the test. Getting in an answer is better than leaving the answer blank.
However, if you didn’t study early and got a bad score, there are many resources you can use to prepare for your retake or to use when preparing for your first time taking the exam. A really good resource that the school provides for us for free is the Method Test Prep course. This course is available through the “student login” section on the New Berlin School District page and offers practice questions and work for all sections of the ACT exam.
Another resource is available on ACT.org. The official ACT website includes an online course that offers three different packages: On-Demand, Live, and All Access. On-demand provides pre-filmed videos that cover all of the sections and standards on the test, costing $40. Live provides live video sessions and costs $75. The final package is the All Access package, costing $99, and provides both On-Demand and Live services for $16 less than buying them individually. While this may be expensive for some, this resource is cheaper than paying for an ACT retake and can help you get a good score on your first test.
If the online preparation is too expensive, there is also the ACT preparation book which can be found on Amazon.com for $17.99. This is a much cheaper option that can help students familiarize themselves with the test instructions, format, and subjects as well as gives students more practice questions and test-taking tips.
The night before the exam, make sure to prepare well. Do a short review of your studying, drink plenty of water and eat a healthy meal. You also should gather your supplies needed for the test including No.2 pencils, a calculator, and your student ID. That way when you wake up in the morning you know where everything is and don’t have to spend time looking for it.
The morning of the exam, make sure you take plenty of time to eat a healthy breakfast, drink plenty of water, and have time to get ready. By doing this you won’t be rushing around and can have a stressless morning.
Finally, here’s some advice from the teachers who graded the New Berlin West practice ACT, or teach the subjects that students are tested on.
Mr. Altstadt, a high school English, Journalism, and Speech teacher, helped grade the writing portion of the exam. His advice to do well on the writing portion was to, “Make sure you are evaluating each perspective and then coming up with your own perspective that is an improvement over all of them.”
Altstadt also gave some advice on the English portion, and recommended, “take practice exams, because you have to answer 75 questions in 45 minutes, so you need to work on budgeting your time. A lot of students end up in a situation where there’s five minutes left but 20 questions they need to finish.”
Mrs. Kowalski, an English teacher here at West, recommended that the best way to prepare for the reading portion of the exam was to, “read more. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to read novels, but you certainly can. Reading newspapers or magazines will definitely help, too. The key, really, is to make sure you’re reading things that are well-written.”
Mrs. Seitz, a math teacher here at New Berlin West, recommended that for the math portion of the exam, that, “if there is time remaining before the end of the test, go back and check your answers” as well as “make sure your answer is reasonable to what the problem is asking for.”
One of our high school science teachers, Mr. Krack, said, “Remember that it is just a test. It is an important test, but it does not define you or your capabilities. Stay calm and relax as much as you can both when studying and when taking the test. And if it doesn’t work out, you can always retake it.”
Overall, while the ACT is a stressful and important test for many students, preparing ahead of time for the test, or your retake, will make you feel more confident with your skills and overall improve your score.