Teachers give tips for the upcoming ACT

Liv Bohler and Jacob Hamm

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The American College Test (ACT) has become a major role in the college application process in the past couple of years. Studying, preparing and strategizing plays an important role in how well a student performs on this test.

Teaching towards the ACT in specific subject fields has been implemented into the curriculum, helping to teach students the skills needed to perform well on the test.

Before taking the ACT itself or beginning to prepare, Manual teachers have given advice on their specific subject field test to use the next time you take it.

English tips 

“In my opinion, 70 percent of the English test is commas. So, if you know comma rules: how to use a comma, how to use a semicolon, etc,” Emily Sales (English) said.

Knowing proper grammar during this section of this test is the best way to prepare.

According to the ACT Test Prep website, the best tips are to:

  • Be aware of the writing style used in each passage.
  • Consider the elements of writing that are included in each underlined portion of the passage. Some questions will ask you to base your decision on some specific elements of writing, such as the tone or emphasis the text should convey.
  • Be aware of questions with no underlined portions—that means you will be asked about a section of the passage or about the passage as a whole.
  • Examine each answer choice and determine how it differs from the others. Many of the questions in the test will involve more than one aspect of writing.
  • Determine the best answer. Read and consider all of the answer choices before you choose the one that best responds to the question.
  • Reread the sentence, using your selected answer.

Reading tips

“Lack of confidence is probably the biggest test score killer. So, relax and have confidence. That combination sets you physically and emotionally for a good test experience,” Jacquelin Scoones (English) said.

Many students often don’t feel that their ability to analyze the text is enough, so it leads to rushing through the passages and questions.

“Know your triggers. Recognize the physical manifestations of your signs of tensions are start practicing whatever techniques that will help you alleviate those symptoms,” Jacquelin Scoones (English) said.

“The reading test a complete a test of time management. So, I always tell students to just focus on the main idea of the test, skim the beginning and the end and then go through the questions that you can easily answer. After that, then move on to the questions that are a little more sophisticated, dealing with the authors’ purpose and theme,” Emily Sales (English) said.

According to the ACT Test Prep website, the best tips are to:

  • Read the passage(s) carefully.
  • Read and consider all of the answer choices before you choose the one that best responds to the question.
  • Refer to the passage(s) when answering the questions.

Math tips

“Know the properties of triangles 30-60-90, 45-45-90 and special right triangles (3-4-5. etc.) because it will save you some time when solving those problems,” Dawn Roy (Math) said.

“Nearly every problem will be two steps. Often you’ll solve the 1st step and that answer will be one of the selections. Be sure that there isn’t another step before moving on,” Dawn Roy (Math) said.

“Make sure you review area and circumference formulas,” Dawn Roy (Math) said.

“What a lot of people don’t know is you can block off the last ten questions…and just think about doing well on 50 questions or if you want to break it down to just do well of 45 of questions and at the very end, you can guess. That is a viable strategy in order to get through the section and a way you can feel good about the questions you answered,” Jacob Jury (Math) said.

According to the ACT Test Prep website, the best tips are to:

  • Read each question carefully to make sure you understand the type of answer required.
  • If you choose to use a calculator, be sure it is permitted, is working on test day, and has reliable batteries.
  • Use your calculator wisely.
  • Solve the problem.
  • Locate your solution among the answer choices.
  • Make sure you answer the question asked.
  • Make sure your answer is reasonable.
  • Check your work.

Calculator tips;

  • Review the latest information on permitted and prohibited calculators.
  • You are not required to use a calculator. All the problems can be solved without a calculator.
  • If you regularly use a calculator in your mathematics work, use one you’re familiar with when you take the mathematics test. Using a more powerful, but unfamiliar, calculator is not likely to give you an advantage over using the kind you normally use.

Science tips

“The science test is more of a measure of how good your reading comprehension and your graph analysis skills are. If it’s a long word question, approach it the same way you would approach the English section. If it’s a graph style based question, you need to know how to read and interpret the graph (this entails) interpreting the slope of a line and reading the trend it creates in order to make estimations in between points,” Christopher Applegate (Science) said. 

“There is one passage in the science section that is known as the “conflicting scientists” passage where it is set up as two or more people with differing opinions. That one you have to actually skim it or read it. My recommendation for that one is to do it last. With all of the others, I would look at the questions first because you don’t really need to read the background information in most cases,” Erin Moss (Science) said. 

“A general thing that I would recommend unless you are able to narrow the answer, is to pick a letter of the day for questions that you choose to guess on. For students who have a hard time finishing, I tell the kids that I’ve worked with who have a hard time finishing the science section with the conflicting students passage to fill in their letter of the day from the beginning and come back to it if you have time, ” Erin Moss (Science) said. 

According to the ACT Test Prep website, the best tips are to:

  • Read the passage carefully.
  • Refer to the scientific information in the passage when answering the question.
  • Read and consider all of the answer choices before you choose the one that best responds to the question.
  • Note conflicting viewpoints in some passages.

The American College Test (ACT)

Click here to view the test preparation tests given by the American College Testing organization itself.

The last ACT test of the year is coming up on December 14th and unlike other versions, this one allows you to have your test returned if you were to pay an extra fee.

Click here to register for the ACT.