General Tips

ACT Test Taking Tips, Clock
  • Answer the questions you find easiest first. Come back to the others later.
  • Don't spend more than a minute or two on any question.
  • As you work on a section, keep track of how much time remains. (It's a good idea to bring a reliable watch.)
  • Answer every question. There is no penalty for guessing.
  • Be careful to mark only one answer choice per question.
  • Write in the test book in any way that will help you.
  • Consider all answer choices before you choose one. Use the process of elimination to narrow your choices.

English Section Tips

  • Consider the writing style used for each section. The correct answer choice will be the one that works best with the writing style used.
  • When asked a question about something that is underlined, consider how the underlined portion fits with the rest of the section.
  • Examine each answer choice to see how it differs from the others.
  • For items that include "No Change" as an answer choice, choose this as your answer only if you are sure none of the other answer choices are correct.
  • Reread the underlined portion with your answer choice to be sure it is correct.

Reading Section Tips

  • Read the passage carefully before you read the questions.
  • Focus on the main ideas in the passage. Underline these. Don't get lost in the details.
  • Try to identify how ideas in the passage are connected.
  • Refer to the passage as you answer each question.

Mathematics Section Tips

  • Work out the problem before looking at the answer choices. When done, choose the answer choice that matches your answer. If none match, redo the problem.
  • Don't overly rely on your calculator. Some problems are best worked out manually. Some don't even require calculation.
  • The questions focus much more on reasoning than on calculation. If you find yourself doing complicated calculations, you're probably on the wrong track.
  • Make sure your answer choice makes sense. A calculation error can lead you to a wrong answer choice.
  • Check your work.
  • Math Tips

    Here are some "how-to's" that will come in handy.

    How to Round a Number

    To the nearest ten

    If the ones digit is 5 or more, round to the next highest ten (68 rounds to 70).
    If the ones digit is less than 5, round to the next lowest ten (33 rounds to 30).

    Math Tips, Equations

    To the nearest hundred

    If the tens digit is 5 or more, round to the next highest hundred (384 rounds to 400).
    If the tens digit is less than 5, round to the next lowest hundred (427 rounds to 400).

    To the nearest thousand

    If the hundreds digit is 5 or more, round to the next highest thousand (7,602 rounds to 8,000).
    If the hundreds digit is less than 5, round to the next lowest thousand (7,268 rounds to 7,000).

    How to Find an Average

    To find the average of several numbers, add the numbers together and then divide the sum by the number of numbers.

    The average of 17, 30, 6, and 7 = 60 ÷ 4 = 15

    How to Tell if Two Fractions are Equivalent

    Cross multiply the fractions. If both products are the same, the fractions are equivalent.

    3 and   9       3 x 24 = 72               3 and   9  are equivalent fractions.
    8        24       8 x 9   = 72              8        24

    5  and   3       5 x12 = 60                5   and  3  are not equivalent fractions.
    8         12       8 x 3 = 24                8        12

    Math Tips, Student

    How to Find a Percentage

    To tell what percentage one number is of a second number, divide the first number by the second. Move the decimal point of the resulting quotient two places to the right.

    Example:  What percentage is 20 of 300?
    20 ÷ 300 = .067  =  6.7%

    How to Change a Fraction to a Percentage

    Divide the numerator by the denominator. Move the decimal point of the resulting quotient two places to the right.

     6     =   6 ÷ 15 = .4 = .40 = 40%

    How to Change a Decimal to a Percentage

    Move the decimal point two places to the right.

    0.792 = 79.2%

Science Section Tips

ACT Test Taking Tips, Test Tubes
  • Given the complexity of the passages, it may help to make some simple notes as you read them.
  • Cross out irrelevant information.
  • Don't be overly concerned with any technical terminology. Technical terms usually have little to do with the correct answer choice.
  • Be watchful for conflicting viewpoints in some of the passages.

Writing Section Tips

  • Organization of your response is very important. Use a five-paragraph essay that includes an introduction, supporting paragraphs, and a conclusion.
  • Plan your response before you begin to write it.
  • Stay with the topic throughout your response.
  • Vary your sentence structure and word choices.
  • Use specific examples wherever possible.
  • Write legibly.
  • If you have time, check your grammar, usage, punctuation, and spelling.