ACT Test Taking Tricks

Can You Apply Tricks for Your Act Attempt?

The word 'trick' has both negative and positive connotations. When you 'trick' someone, you are deceiving that person, but when you do something that 'does the trick', you are undertaking an act that will bring you success.

When it comes to 'tricks to take the ACT efficiently', the word 'tricks' is to be understood in the latter, positive sense.

These tricks are nothing but strategies you adopt and habits you form to ensure that your attempt is crowned with success.

The biggest 'trick' you can employ, of course, is to work hard. There is no substitute for hard work. Even if you have already attempted the examination earlier, you need to study in an organized way if you wish to improve your performance.

There are a lot of prep guides available, but whichever guide you refer to, you must make it a point not to miss practicing with the official preparatory guide as well.

That is because, firstly, the tests given there are closer to the real tests than those of any other prep guide. Secondly, it not only provides the answers to each of the questions in the multiple-choice tests, but explains the answers as well.

General 'Tricks'

Each section of the examination is timed, and you cannot afford to spend more than a few minutes on any one question. One of the major problems that students taking the test face is that they are unable to complete their answers within the specified time.

The best way out of the dilemma is to implement the following strategies:

  1. You don't get additional time to go through the directions at the top of the question papers. It makes sense to take five full minutes to thoroughly read and remember the directions right at the start of the test rather than come back to them again and again. This saves time.
  2. If time is running out and you still have quite a few questions to answer, make a quick, calculated guess at those because, there being no negative scoring, you have nothing to lose.
  3. Try eliminating choices before you pick your answer. That is, before you begin guessing, leave out the answer or answers you know for certain are wrong. With every choice you eliminate, the chance of your guessing right improves.
  4. Tackle the easy questions first, and then return to the more difficult ones.

Since this test is machine-graded, drawing or scribbling absent-mindedly on your answer script could interfere with the machine's reading mechanism and cause you to lose points.

If, in any section, an answer seems a little too easy or obvious, chances are it is the wrong answer. Therefore, you would do well to consider all the other options carefully.

Section-Specific Strategies

ACT, on its part, employs its own brand of test taking techniques in its pattern of multiple-choice questioning, and becoming aware of this pattern can have a significant impact on how well you score. Thus, in the Mathematics test, you might be provided with a partial answer --- that is, it will seem to be the correct answer if you happen to work out just the first part of the question; but if you solve the problem in full, your answer will be different.

If you are rushing through your questions, you can easily fall into the trap. When, having solved a part of the problem, you see your partial answer matching one of the answers supplied in the question, you might be tempted to select it without further consideration.

Another common trap in this section is that one of the answers provided will be numerically correct, but its unit will be wrong. For example, maybe the correct answer is 40 feet, but one of the answers offered is 40 inches. In your hurry, you may overlook the unit.

For the English, Reading, and Science Reasoning sections, it is suggested that you read the passages once before reading the questions. Also, if you don't know the meaning of a word, try to deduce its meaning from the context in which it has been used.

As for the Writing Test, the time allotted is half-an-hour. Since the organization of your essay is given high priority while scoring, it is advisable that you spend the first five minutes in planning out the essay.

With all these strategies up your sleeve, the chances are high that, come the declaration of scores, you will be celebrating!