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How to Prep for the ACT Test

by Jeannine Lowe

The American College Test is a college readiness assessment, primarily administered to high school students. The ACT is a timed and standardized multiple-choice test to evaluate your proficiency in English, math, reading and science. The test also includes an optional writing component, if you elect to test your writing skills. Colleges evaluate your test scores to determine scholarship eligibility. For example, the University of Tennessee at Martin requires a minimum 25 ACT score and 3.5 GPA (grade-point average) before awarding $1,500 Dean's Scholarships to students. Your diligence in preparing for the ACT test will help you meet college admission standards and increase your chances for scholarship awards.

Study Schedule

Determine the date you want to take the ACT test. Testing is available every year in September, October, December, February, April and June. After you choose a test date, create a study schedule and write down the days and times you will dedicate to studying for the ACT test. Plan to allow four to six weeks, prior to the test date, giving you ample prep time. Following a study schedule will motivate and help you accomplish your goal of studying for the test.

Practice

Locate study guides, quizzes and tests to help you prepare. These materials are found in textbooks, online and from teachers. Practice ACT tests allow you to identify your strengths and weaknesses. After identifying your weaknesses, you can spend more time focusing and studying to make improvements. In addition, practice tests help you learn the ACT test format and become familiar with question types and the pace at which you need to work to complete the timed exam. Intensive test practicing is an excellent way to prepare for the actual exam.

ACT Prep Class

An prep class will provide you with an expert teacher who can share tips and strategies for taking the ACT test. Learning how to skim paragraphs, managing your time and pacing yourself are some examples of valuable test-taking strategies you will learn. You will become familiar with test directions, test question formats, the number of questions on each section of the test as well as the allotment of questions that measures your analytical and reasoning skills you have acquired in your high school career. For example, the math portion of the ACT contains 60 multiple-choice questions allotted to pre-algebra, algebra, geometry and trigonometry. By studying, reviewing, taking practice tests and evaluating your results to make refinements in weak areas, you will gain confidence when taking the actual test.

Tutoring

Typically, a tutor has a firm grasp on specific subject matter and can help you prepare for the ACT test. Tutors provide personalized, one-on-one instruction that is tailored to your needs, schedule and learning style. If you have a weakness in a specific subject area, a tutor can offer her undivided attention and provide you tips and strategies that can help you make significant improvements in your learning of the subject material.

Other Considerations

On the actual day of your ACT test, bring your admission ticket and identification. You will not be allowed into the testing room without appropriate identification. Remember to bring No. 2 pencils and a calculator to the testing center. Read each question carefully, answer all questions by darkening the oval on the answer sheet completely and erase any stray marks. You are not penalized for guessing incorrectly. Getting plenty of rest the night before the test, eating breakfast, dressing comfortably and arriving at the test center early are also good prep tips leading to success on the ACT test.

About the Author

Jeannine Lowe is a business technology teacher at McKenzie High School in Tennessee. She has been writing on business and marketing topics since 2007. Lowe obtained her Master of Science in education through Walden University, specializing in integrating technology into the classroom.

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