VARSITY ADMISSIONS AN EDUCATION BLOG

How To Improve Your ACT Score

By now, you’ve probably heard your older brothers’ or sisters’ tales of it – and your teachers talk all about how important or difficult it can be.

But, the fact that you’re reading this post and considering working with an ACT tutor already puts you a step above the rest. And guess what, we’re going to give you even more help with the following ACT prep tips.

Background: Some colleges prefer the ACT over the SAT and vice versa. But, most will consider whichever you score higher on. Unlike the SAT, you can’t combine sections from previous tests to create an aggregate score. The ACT has five sections: English, Math, Reading, Science and Writing. The test is scored 1-36, and it lasts about 3.5 hours. There is no penalty for guessing on the ACT; so make sure you don’t leave any questions blank.

Read everything: Students who score well on the ACT have a great memory, are lightning-fast readers and can process information incredibly fast. If you can master those skills, you’ll be well on your way to score in the 30s. Reading constantly is the best way to improve in all those areas, and it’s the golden ticket to a great ACT score.

Practice tests: There are two ways to take practice tests: like a zombie just doing them for the sake of it, or with a purpose. When it comes to ACT practice tests, you don’t get a lot of bonus points for just showing up and taking them. So, you need to map out a legitimate ACT prep plan. Consider this process:

Step one: Take a few practice tests to find out what your weaknesses are. Don’t worry about your score, or how quickly you answer questions. Just highlight the questions that gave you trouble.

Step two: Bring all those questions to your private ACT tutor. Your tutor has probably seen it all before, and can help you break these questions down into simple problems. Work with your tutor to hammer your weaknesses out.

Step three: Once you see some improvement, take a full practice test. Try to mimic the test scenario by sitting down for the full 3.5 hours on a Saturday morning in a crowded room (like a coffee shop or library). This can help your brain adjust to thinking the way it needs to on the test.

The homestretch: After this, you’re in the homestretch – and you just need to repeat this process. Take three months or so, and take a practice test every Saturday morning. Then, work with your tutor to iron out your weaknesses a couple nights week. If you continue this process, you’ll be amazed at how much you can improve your score.

Trust your ear: For the English Section, try to hear each sentence in your head and just pick the one that sounds right. More often than not, this can help you quickly find the correct answer. But, if that doesn’t work, you’ll need to take a deeper look at it and apply grammar rules.

Turn math word problems into equations: The word problems are designed to confuse you and force you to spend extra time. But, turning them into mathematical equations can help you dodge both pitfalls.

Know the formula sheet: You’ll be given a formula sheet, but you can save tons of valuable time if you know it inside-and-out before going into the test.

Underline passages: There are a whole lot of words you don’t need to read in every passage on the ACT. That’s why it’s best to read the questions first (to know what you’re looking for) then skim the passage and underline what’s in the questions. But, you need to read the first couple and last couple sentences to understand the meaning and tone of the passage.

You will see four types of questions: big ideas (what’s the main thought/topic of the passage), factual-based questions, inferences (what did the author mean by…) and tone or mood (is it optimistic, pessimistic, humorous, witty, etc).

Science is reading: The Science Section is really just another reading section, focusing on science. So, treat it as such, and you’ll be fine.

Everyone knows how important the ACT is. That’s why we’re here to help you move forward with your ACT prep process. Contact us today to see how a private ACT tutor can help you boost your score.