Standardized Test Prep
Tips for Taking the ACT
- Carefully read the instructions on the cover of the test booklet.
- Read the directions for each test carefully.
- Read each question carefully.
- Pace yourself—don't spend too much time on a single passage or question.
- Pay attention to the announcement of five minutes remaining on each test.
- Use a soft lead No. 2 pencil with a good eraser; do not use a mechanical pencil or ink pen.
- Answer the easy questions first, then go back and answer the more difficult ones.
- On difficult questions, eliminate as many incorrect answers as you can, then make an educated guess among those remaining.
- Answer every question. Your scores on the multiple-choice tests are based on the number of questions you answer correctly. There is no penalty for guessing.
- If you complete a test before time is called, recheck your work on that test.
- Mark your answers neatly. Erase any mark completely and cleanly without smudging.
- Do not mark or alter any ovals on a test or continue writing the essay after time has been called or you will be dismissed and your answer document will not be scored.
Important test taking tips:
- Answer easy questions first. The easier questions are usually at the start of the section, and the harder ones are at the end. The exception is in the critical reading section, where questions are ordered according to the logic and organization of each passage.
- Make educated guesses. If you can rule out one or more answer choices for multiple-choice questions, you have a better chance of guessing the right answer.
- Skip questions that you really can't answer. No points are deducted if an answer is left blank.
- Limit your time on any one question. All questions are worth the same number of points. If you need a lot of time to answer a question, go on to the next one. Later, you may have time to return to the question you skipped.
- Keep track of time. Don't spend too much time on any group of questions within a section.
- Use your test booklet as scratch paper.
- Mark the questions in your booklet that you skipped and want to return to.
- Check your answer sheet to make sure you are answering the right question.
- Make sure you use a No. 2 pencil. It is very important that you fill in the entire circle on the answer sheet darkly and completely. If you change your response, erase it as completely as possible.