The ACT, or American College Testing, test consists of four sections: Math, Reading, English and Science. The ACT Plus Writing test includes a 30 minute optional writing test in addition to the four main subject tests. The test consists of 215 multiple choice questions and has a maximum attainable score of 36. The ACT is used predominately in the Midwest and Southern U.S., while the SAT is used most often on the east and west coasts. However, the ACT is becoming more popular on the East Coast.
Since the ACT is used by colleges and universities to determine admissions, it is important that your teen score as high as possible in order to guarantee them the best chance with the school of their choice. Here are some tips that may help your teen prepare for the ACT and get a great score.
Allow Enough Time
In order to get a great score on the ACT, most teens need some intensive study. It is important that your teen have adequate time to study and prepare. If teens try to cram or begin studying too close to the time they will take the ACT, they may feel rushed, stressed out or anxious. To do their best in the ACT, teens should be as relaxed and calm as possible.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Make sure your teen gets as much practice for the ACT as possible. To achieve the best results, teens should vary their test prep style, using different methods and resources. Past versions of ACT test questions are widely available for free online.
Take Timed Practice Tests
Taking timed practice tests will give your teen practice being tested with the added stress of a time limit. It will also help them to practice their time management skills which will be invaluable during the actual test.
Take a Prep Course
Test prep courses can be costly, but they are also very effective in helping your teen prepare for the ACT. There are many different companies and individual tutors who offer ACT test prep classes. Many high schools also offer ACT prep courses for a small fee.
Free ACT Online Prep
Helping your teen prepare for the ACT doesn’t have to break the bank. The economy being what it is, most families don’t have extra funds to invest in costly ACT test prep courses or tutoring. There are literally thousands of free or low cost online ACT prep opportunities for your teen. Type ‘free ACT test prep’ into your browser to find some of the great practice resources available. Here are some of the best free test prep materials from the ACT website.
ACT Question of the Day
You can see ACT practice questions here.
Tips for taking the ACT
Description of the subject area tests.
Preparing for the ACT: an 80 page booklet featuring full-length practice tests for each subject area, scoring keys, a writing test, sample essays, information about the ACT, test prep strategies and an explanation of what you can expect on test day.
One of the best sites not affiliated with ACT test makers is School Guide Zone. This site offers a free ACT study guide download that is excellent.
Have a Positive Attitude
Having a positive attitude is a great way to help your teen prepare for the ACT. Reassure them that you have confidence in them.
Have a Plan
An effective way to help your teen prepare for the ACT is to have a plan of study and follow it. Work together with you teen to make a list of topics they need to cover for the test. Look at the topics and help your teen decide which topics need more study time and which ones can get by with less. More challenging topics will need more study time devoted to them. By all means, don’t have your teen cram for the ACT.
Know the Test
It’s all well and good to study, but if your teen doesn’t understand how the ACT test works and is scored, they will be at a distinct disadvantage. For example, it is important for your teen to understand that the questions get more difficult as they progress through each section of the test. Also, unlike the SAT, the ACT does not penalize for wrong answers so it’s a good idea for your teen to guess if they are not sure of an answer. They could get it right.