Choosing a Test Date
Before you choose a test date, check the applicationdeadlines of the colleges and scholarship agencies youare considering. It will normally take three to eight weeksafter a test date for ACT to mail your score report to youand to your college or scholarship choices.Many colleges and scholarship agencies recommend thatstudents take the ACT during the spring of their junior year.By this time, students typically have completed most of thecoursework covered by the ACT. There are a number ofadvantages in taking the ACT then:•You will receive test scores and other information thatwill help you plan your senior year of high school.•Many colleges begin contacting prospective studentsduring the summer before their senior year.•If you do not score as well as you believe you can,there will be opportunities to retake the ACT in the fallof your senior year and still have your new scoresavailable in time to meet admission and scholarshipdeadlines.
NOTE: You cannot plan on receiving your scores fromone test date in time to register for the next.
General Test-TakingStrategies for the ACT
The ACT contains multiple-choice tests in four areas:English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science. Each ofthese tests contains questions that offer either four or fiveanswer choices from which you are to choose the correct,or best, answer. The following suggestions apply to allfourtests:
The time limits set for each test give nearly everyoneenough time to finish all the questions. However, becausethe English, Reading, and Science Tests contain aconsiderable amount of text, it is important to pace yourselfso you will not spend too much time on one passage.Similarly, try not to spend too much time puzzling over ananswer to a specific problem in the Mathematics Test. Goon to the other questions and come back if there is time.Your supervisor will announce when you have five minutesremaining on each test.
Read the directions for each test carefully.
Before you begin taking one of the tests, read thedirections carefully. The English, Reading, and ScienceTests ask for the “best” answer. Do not respond as soon asyou identify a correct answer. Read and consider all of theanswer choices and choose the answer that
respondsto the question.The Mathematics Test asks for the “correct” answer. Readeach question carefully to make sure you understand thetype of answer required. Then, you may want to work outthe answer you feel is correct and look for it among thechoices given. If your answer is not among the choicesprovided, reread the question and consider all of theanswer choices.
Read each question carefully.
It is important that you understand what each questionasks. Some questions will require you to go throughseveral steps to find the correct or best answer, whileothers can be answered more quickly.
Answer the easy questions first.
The best strategy for taking the tests is to answer the easyquestions and skip the questions you find difficult. Afteranswering all of the easy questions, go back and answerthe more difficult questions.
Use logic on more difficult questions.
When you return to the more difficult questions, try touselogic to eliminate incorrect answers to a question.Compare the answer choices to each other and note howthey differ. Such differences may provide clues as to whatthe question requires. Eliminate as many incorrect answersas you can, then make an educated guess from theremaining answers.
Answer every question.
Your score on the tests will be based only on the numberof questions that you answer correctly;
there is no penaltyfor guessing.
Thus, you should answer every questionwithin the time allowed for each test, even if you have toguess. Your supervisor will announce when you have fiveminutes remaining on each test.
Review your work.
If there is time left after you have answered every question ina test, go back and check your work on that test. Check tobe sure that you marked only one response to each question.You will not be allowed to go back to any other test or markreponses to a test after time has been called on that test.
Be precise in marking your answer document.
Be sure that you fill in the correct ovals on your answerdocument. Check to be sure that the number of the line ofovals on your answer document is the same as the numberof the question you are answering and that you mark onlyone response for each question.
If you want to change a multiple-choice answer, be sure touse a soft eraser that will not leave smudges and erase theunintended mark completely. Do not cross out answers oruse correction fluid or tape; you must erase. Correctionfluid/tape, smudges, or unintended marks may causeerrors in scoring.
To students approved to test at national test centerswith extended time:
You will be allowed up to 5 hours total to work on themultiple-choice tests at your own pace, including breaksbetween tests. If you are taking the ACT Plus Writing,you will be allowed up to 5 hours and 45 minutes total.You will need to pace yourself through each test inorder to complete all tests within the total time allowed.Your supervisor will provide time updates every hour.When you complete each test, you must notify yoursupervisor that you are ready to begin the next test.