10 Basic Tips for Taking the ACT

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  1. Answer the easy questions first: This will help you save time. Instead of bogging yourself down early on with a tougher question, you’ve got the easy ones out of the way and can focus more on the hard questions. In your exam book, place a little mark next to the questions you’ve left unanswered; this will make it easier for you to find them and get back to them.
  2. Don’t second guess yourself: If you’re not completely sure of an answer, but think you possibly know it, don’t spend a lot of time changing the answer. Generally, trust your hunches. However, if later on you are absolutely sure you answered an earlier question incorrectly, only then feel free to go back and change your answer.
  3. Pay attention: Make sure to carefully read the questions all the way through. Don’t think that just because an exam question starts off the same as one from the practice test that the question will be the same. They might, but they might not.
  4. If you have time, recheck your answers: If you finish the test early, don’t just sit there twiddling your thumbs. Check your answers again. Make sure you didn’t accidentally pick a wrong answer.
  5. Be neat:This especially means when you are answering text questions. If your answer can’t be read, it will likely be disqualified or counted incorrect. Make sure to cleanly erase any stray or accidental marks.
  6. Use a regular No. 2 soft lead pencil: Pens are definitely a no-no. Even mechanical pencils won’t work as well because they have a tendency for their lead to break under pressure and because they don’t leave as dark a mark. No. 2 pencils work the best because they leave the cleanest and strongest marks.
  7. You can write in the text booklet: Don’t forget this. It might seem like a little thing, but it can actually be very helpful. Working out a problem on paper could help you figure out the answer.
  8. Bring a watch: Remember you’re being timed on each section. Don’t allow yourself to be so distracted by clock watching that you lose valuable time, but you need to be able to tell at a glance how many minutes you have remaining.
  9. When you’re supposed to stop, STOP: Don’t try to squeeze in an answer after time has been called. Your entire test could be disqualified if you are caught.
  10. Don’t cram: That’s right. Try to relax the night before your test. Take your mind off the test. Trying to cram will only get you tired and frustrated. If you are well rested, your mind will be clearer allowing you a much better chance of doing well on the test.
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