Transcript Slide 1

Test taking Tips and Strategies
General thoughts;
The ACT contains multiple-choice tests in four areas:
Each of these tests contains questions that offer either
four or five answer choices from which you are to
choose the correct, or best, answer.
 Writing Component
An essay that you write to address a given prompt.
Read the directions for each test
Before you begin taking one of the tests, read the
directions carefully. The English, Reading, and
Science Tests ask for the “best” answer. Do not
respond as soon as you identify a correct answer.
Read and consider all of the answer choices and
choose the answer that best responds to the
Read the directions for each test
The Mathematics Test asks for the “correct” answer. Read
each question carefully to make sure you understand the
type of answer required. Then, you may want to work out
the answer you feel is correct and look for it among the
choices given. If your answer is not among the choices
provided, reread the question and consider all of the
answer choices.
Pace yourself.
The time limits set for each test give nearly
everyone enough time to finish all the questions.
However, because the English, Reading, and
Science Tests contain a considerable amount of
text, it is important to pace yourself so you will not
spend too much time on one passage. Similarly, try
not to spend too much time puzzling over an
answer to a specific problem in the Mathematics
Test. Go on to the other questions and come back if
there is time. Your supervisor will announce when
you have five minutes remaining on each test.
Answer the easy questions first.
The best strategy for taking the tests is to
answer the easy questions and skip the
questions you find difficult. After answering all
of the easy questions, go back and answer the
more difficult questions if you have time.
Use logic on more difficult questions.
Use logic to eliminate incorrect answers to a
Compare the answer choices to each other and note
how they differ. Such differences may provide clues
as to what the question requires.
Eliminate as many incorrect answers as you can,
then make an educated guess from the remaining
Answer every question!
Your score on the tests will be based only on the
number of questions that you answer correctly;
there is no penalty for guessing. Thus, you
should answer every question within the time
allowed for each test, even if you have to guess.
Your supervisor will announce when you have
five minutes remaining on each test.
Review your work.
If there is time left after you have answered every
question in a test, go back and check your work on
that test. Check to be sure that you marked only
one response to each question.
You will not be allowed to go back to any other test
or mark responses to a test after time has been
called on that test.
Be precise in marking your answer
Be sure that you properly fill in the correct ovals
on your answer document. Check to be sure that
the number of the line of ovals on your answer
document is the same as the number of the
question you are answering and that you mark
only one response for each question.
(9 minutes per passage)
Usage/Mechanics: 40 Questions
Grammar and Usage
Sentence Structure
Rhetorical Skills: 35 Questions
Read the entire passage first (roughly 1.5 minutes).
Focus on grammar and revision skills, not comprehension.
Answer diction and grammar questions first; they are
usually the easiest to answer quickly.
Listen for errors as you read the answer choices. You
can often hear an error as you say a sentence in your
Read ALL answers carefully; answers often look similar,
sometimes differing only by a comma.
“NO CHANGE” is the correct choice about 25% of the
(1 question per minute)
Pre-Algebra/Elementary Algebra
24 Questions
Intermediate Algebra/Coordinate Geometry
18 Questions
Plane Geometry/Trigonometry
18 Questions
Draw a picture if one is not provided. Figures given
are not drawn to scale, so mark them with given
measures or symbols.
Know the following translations: of means multiply
and per means divide.
Know the area and perimeter formulas for triangles,
rectangles, and circles, and how to find the volume
and surface area of a box.
If a problem is given in terms of fractions, decimals,
or percents, consider using an alternate form to find
the answer.
If the question and/or answer set are given in terms of
variables only, substitute simple numbers to help
determine the answer.
Most answers are listed from least to greatest, so you
can use a technique called backsolving to find the
correct answer.
Do not overuse your calculator! The test is written so
that every problem can be solved without a calculator.
Set up the problem in your test booklet first and take a
moment to consider what a reasonable answer would
be before using the calculator.
(9 minutes per passage)
Prose Fiction: 10 Questions
Social Studies: 10 Questions
Humanities: 10 Questions
Natural Sciences: 10 Questions
Read the passage actively (3 minutes); underline or
circle any key points. Read with awareness of the
author’s goal, tone, and theme.
If a question refers to a specific line of the passage,
read one line above and below the indicated line to
better understand the context.
Save difficult questions (such as inferring) for last and
answer easier questions (such as vocabulary) first.
Note: It is best to finish one passage completely before
going on to the next.
(5 minutes per passage)
Data Representation: 15 questions
Research Summaries: 18 questions
Conflicting Viewpoints: 7 questions
If a passage seems difficult, skip it; data representation
passages are often the easiest.
When reading passages, aim at a general
understanding on the first reading and do not dwell on
a specific aspect of data. If the passage contains
conflicting viewpoints, consider similarities and
differences between the scientists’ arguments.
When reading tables and charts, focus on labels, trends
in data, and maximum or minimum values. Look for
connections between multiple data representations.