Tips and tricks for conquering the ACT

Andrew Riley, Sports Editor

Throughout my schooling I have taken the ACT once in middle school, four times in high school and plan to take it again before graduating. After taking it several times I have come up with a fairly high score of a 30 and developed several tips and strategies for taking it.

My first tip is do not cram the night before. Make a little time each day to take in and absorb the information rather than trying to force yourself to remember it. Cramming is never the ideal way to learn in any situation.

Something else I have learned over the years is studying in the traditional way is good, but taking practice tests is better. Working out practice questions shows the types of questions that will be on the test. After doing some of them over and over it becomes easier to work out similar questions.

Another tip is that you can never over prepare. Always bring multiple pencils just in case yours break. Also bring some backup batteries for the math portion of the test. If your calculator dies on the test no one will provide you with extra batteries or another calculator.

One big tip is to take the ACT multiple times to better your score. Begin by taking the ACT at least once during your freshman and sophomore years of high school. These will most likely be your lowest scores because there is much more to learn as we go through school. During your junior year is when you should begin to take it more. This is when the bulk of your learning has taken place and it benefits you to take it at least twice during that year. We are fortunate enough that our high school provides us one free test during this year, however, it is not under ideal circumstances. Every junior in the high school is brought to the Simmons Center whether they want to take it or not. This can be distracting and cause lower scores. This is exactly what happened to me. Having several students around you who may not want to take the test can cause distractions. My sophomore year I scored a 29 and went into the Simmons Center hoping for a higher score. When the time came to get my score back it was a 25. At that point I decided I would take it again that year and scored a 30, my highest score. After taking it several times already, you should take it one more time during your senior year to try and refine your score from everything you have learned.

My last tip is to not stress about the test. Everyone is allowed 12 attempts on the ACT. This means that even after taking it once your freshman and sophomore years you are left with 10 attempts. With there being six testing dates a year for the ACT you could potentially take it five times your junior and senior years to get your score where you want it to be. Getting a higher score than just what is needed to get into college can potentially help you get more scholarships. There are many opportunities to get your score up so you should not stress about it. In the end, it is just a test.