The ACT: One-and-Done
One of the best things about the ACT is that you have ONE English test, ONE math test, ONE reading test, ONE science test, and ONE writing test. Think about it – once you’ve completed that hour-long math test, you can rest assured that there will be no more logarithm questions or solving systems of equations.
Following the ACT’s theme of “one-and-done,” below is a list of the one thing you should remember for each of the ACT’s tests this Saturday.
The English Test (75 Questions, 45 Minutes):
Use your grammar ear. The English test has grammar and syntax questions that occur in context of a short, simple passage. Most students, by the time they reach their junior year in high school, have read enough that they can “hear” the error in the sentence. Even if you aren’t sure how to fix the sentence, eliminating answer choices will help you find the right answer.
The Math Test (60 Questions, 60 Minutes):
Have a plan of action. The math test leaves no time for lingering on a question. You need to have a plan of attack. Even if you are not sure how to finish a problem, have a plan for how to start the problem. Then you can decide whether to finish or to skip it and move on. Begin with identifying the problem type. Is it geometry? Does it deal with circles? Then set up the problem. This may mean labeling a diagram, or “pulling the math out” of a word problem. At that point, you can decide whether to continue the problem or guess and move on.
The Reading Test (40 Questions, 35 Minutes):
Eliminate answer choices. If there is one test that gives students the most trouble with time management, it’s the Reading Test. The less time you spend looking back at the passage for each question, the more likely you are to get to all of the questions, and, therefore, get more points. Try eliminating answer choices first. Even if you don’t remember the exact answer to a question, you may remember what was definitely NOT in the passage.
The Science Test (40 Questions, 35 Minutes):
You are a science fair judge. The science test is not about knowing science topics. It is about understanding experiments, data, and trends. Don’t spend time reading to understand the chemistry (or physics or biology) behind the experiment. Focus on what is being tested and why.
The Writing Test (Essay, 30 Minutes):
Organize your essay using pre-writing. The essay topic will be about something related to high school, such as dress codes, school lunches, or grade penalties. Your job is to take a side, arguing for or against the prompt, and write a five-paragraph essay arguing your point, with good examples. The best way to do this is to make a pro/con T-chart before you start writing. Determine the best arguments for the position you are taking, and the best arguments against it, and write them down in the T-chart. This will help you organize your essay.