I am rooting for so many kids this weekend who are taking the ACT. Some are 7th graders taking it for the first time through the Duke TIP. Some are Seniors who just need one more point for thousands of dollars in scholarships. These kids came to me for guidance and help. It’s a responsibility that I don’t take lightly.
So, for all of you who are running this race, I cheer you on! Here are some last minute tips as you round out your final week of study.
- Be Mentally Tough. You will see things on the test that will initially throw you. Be prepared for that. Smile, laugh, and move on. Take at least 4 sharpened pencils with you into the test. Use a new pencil at the beginning of each section. Let the pencil represent the renewed vigor in which you will approach each section, no matter what happened in the section before.
- Review Your Personal Strategy. You developed it. You wrote it. You are in charge. Having said that, give yourself permission to make last minute changes if a Reading passage or Science section is not clicking with you.
- Manage Your Time. We all could get high scores on the ACT if we were not timed. Do not stay too long on one question. Remember, there are easy questions still to come.
- Review Grammar. A semi-colon is always used to connect two complete sentences; a colon must always follow a complete sentence. There are many things that can follow a colon on the right, but a complete sentence will always be to the left of a colon. Don’t EVER connect two complete sentences with a comma. That is a comma splice and the ACT loves to roll out this trick multiple times on every test.
- Review Math Formulas. Forty Percent of the math is Pre-Algebra and Algebra 1. Draw out word problems and take care with basic Algebra. The math section generally goes from easiest to hardest. Don’t make careless mistakes in the first 30 math problems. If you can’t do a math problem quickly, save it until the end and come back. Review the math formulas that you must know for the test.
- Eat. Pack a protein bar and water bottle for the 10 minute break.
- 4,2,1,3. Choose a personal order of preference for the Reading passages. Some do better beginning with the fiction passages. Some prefer non-fiction. If a certain passage isn’t making sense to you, pause and move on. Remember, EVERY answer must be supported by the text. Do not add information to the passage.
- Finish Strong. By the time you get to Science, you are tired and worn down. Do not be intimidated! Science is all about reading charts, graphs, and tables. Look at the charts first. Note the patterns. Then look to the answer choices to see where to look on the graphs for the answer. There will be 3 to 4 questions on each Science test that require outside information. When you come to one of those, make your best guess. Just like the Reading section, every answer can be found within the test pages themselves. Your Reading score and Science score should be within one point of each other. It is testing the same skill.
Take time to review this week. Work hard until Friday. No studying the night before the test. Let your mind rest. Pack everything for the next day and sleep well. Eat a good breakfast. Resolve to be mentally strong whatever the day holds.
I am proud of you. Run your race.