ACT Test Taking

ACT Test Taking Tips

Recognized by all four-year colleges and universities in the United States, ACT is a nationalized college-admission test based on the high–school curriculum. Almost all US colleges require that you submit your ACT or SAT scores along with your college applications. So what are the important factors while preparing for ACT and how do you prepare for ACT test taking? Also included in this article are a few tips for ACT test taking that you should take note of.

Understand ACT

If you are looking forward to ACT test taking, it is crucial that you have all the relevant information about the test, its structure and format, content areas, scoring and score reporting, and test administration. Some of these essential facts are listed below; for more information, visit the relevant pages of the official ACT website (http://www.actstudent.org/index.html):





  • Initially an acronym for American College Testing, ACT (pronounced 'ey-see-tee') comprises four multiple-choice sections on English, Science, Mathematics, and Reading area; and an optional essay writing part based on a given prompt.
  • Either ACT or any other national admission test scores are a must for applying to most colleges and universities in the US.
  • You may register for the test online, or by mail. Online registration is faster https://services.actstudent.org/OA_HTML/actibeCAcdLogin.jsp). If you are not yet 13, or if you cannot pay your test by a credit card, you should register by mail only.
  • You can take the test within US, US territories, or in Canada and other international locations. You may find the test dates and centers online (http://www.actstudent.org/regist/dates.html; http://www.actstudent.org/regist/centers.html).
  • Accommodated testing and arranged testing are available based on a per-case requirement. For more information on all the relevant policies and other information, visit the official ACT website (http://www.actstudent.org/regist/index.html).
  • Scores are generally available online after 2½ weeks of each test date. However, reporting of scores might take a little longer (approximately 3-8 weeks after the test date for No Writing scores and 5-8 weeks after the test date for the ACT Plus Writing scores). You need to consider these facts while choosing your test date. Retesting is allowed up to 12 times in total. For information on retesting restrictions, visit the official ACT website (http://www.actstudent.org/regist/retestrestrictions.html).

Prepare for ACT

ACT is a curriculum-based test that measures your high-school level accomplishments. If you are planning for ACT test taking while still in school, you might find it easier to prepare for the test. In fact, it is recommended by many that you take your test while in your junior class. Here are a few tips and pointers to ACT preparation:

  • Your high school studies prepare the base for ACT test. However, you may find many books, preparation programs, and online resources for ACT test taking. Some of the useful links are:
  • ACT Inc., has a number of preparation resources for ACT test taking. These include the official ACT preparation guide, online preparation program, preparation booklet, practice test questions and tips and strategies. Some of these resources can be accessed online free of charges (http://www.actstudent.org/testprep/index.html).
  • It is also recommended that you do a lot of extra reading and writing, to help yourself prepare for the ACT Plus Writing test.

Tips for the Test Day

Choosing a test date, registering on time, and preparing for the test are all equally important in ACT test taking. It is also critical that you be aware of what to expect on the test day, including what is required, what is accepted, and what is not accepted. Here are a few tips that you might find useful while taking the test:

  • It is vital that you reach the test center and report on time. You may confirm the time and location, and your test option from your admission card.
  • Your admission card has vital information that you need to copy onto your answer booklet. You just cannot afford to forget bringing your admission card.
  • You need to bring acceptable ID proofs to the test center. A list of acceptable ID proofs is available online at: http://www.actstudent.org/faq/answers/id.html.
  • You do not require using a calculator for any of the test sections. However, you may be allowed to use a calculator for the Mathematics section, if you feel the need.
  • Check online for the types of calculators that are allowed and not allowed (http://www.actstudent.org/faq/answers/calculator.html).
  • Inside the exam hall, you are advised to read all the instructions and the questions carefully. This helps you avoid any careless mistakes.
  • While answering multiple-choice sections of ACT, mark your answers legibly and completely.
  • While answering the essay question, you may present any perspective provided you are able to substantiate it as required. Always remember that your writing skills and language abilities are measured and not your viewpoints.

Though ACT scores are not the only factor that can decide your college admissions, ACT is definitely important along with many other factors like your high school grades and course selections. It is, therefore, recommended that you plan well, prepare for and take care of each and every single aspect of the test - from registration to preparation to ACT test taking.




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