Tuesday, March 4, 2014

ACT Prep

This is for all you Juniors out there!

We took the ACT today at school, and I thought I'd share a few things that helped me prepare :)


- Do your normal classwork - your teachers will normally help you to prepare a bit
- If you took the Plan ACT test in your sophomore year,
- There are TONS of websites to help you study for the ACT! Some of them cost some money, but most of them are free (and some are both):...

          ~ actstudent.org
          ~ http://www.act.org/qotd/ (ACT gives a question of the day each day to help you get ready -- they also have a twitter which you can follow @actstudent)
          ~ http://www.sparknotes.com/testprep/books/act/ (Who doesn't love sparknotes?)
          ~ shmoop.com (just go under the first tab labeled "Test Prep" and go to ACT. They also have TONS of stuff to help you with almost anything else in school)
          ~ https://www.number2.com/ (They'll also send you emails if you want)
          ~ http://www.princetonreview.com/college/free-act-practice-test.aspx
          ~ http://www.mhpracticeplus.com/act.php
          ~ http://www.prepme.com/
          ~ http://www.eprep.com/
          ~ Also, if you just google "ACT Prep" there'll be plenty of results
- There are also TONS of books you can buy (or rent from the Library, like I did) to help you! Here's some more links:
          ~ The actual ACT's test prep guide
          ~ Amazon results (I highly recommend any books by Barron or the Princeton Review -- I've used them for the ACT and AP classes and they are GREAT)
- The ACT actually has a little booklet they let out each year to help you. It has a full practice test from a few years ago, study helps, info about the actual test, what to bring, and the answers and explanations to that practice test. Most schools should have them. If the teachers don't just give it to you, they might just have them in the counseling center on a table or something. And if your school doesn't have them, ask them to order some! I'm sure they'd be more than willing to help you out.
- My English teacher actually made a PowerPoint to help us out for the English/Reading/Writing portions of the test. Here it is.


~~ SLEEP!!!
          - Even though this is a given, I cannot stress this enough!! If you don't go to sleep before 10 the rest of the year, make this the ONE DAY YOU DO!!! You'll be so much more attentive, and your brain will be fully rested so you will be able to focus on each question and process them much faster.
~~ EAT!!!
          - Again, a given, but eating a good breakfast before will help hold you over for the 4 HOURS (yes, I really did just say 4 hours) that you'll be in there. Eating also gives you more energy to focus on each question and stay awake in case you didn't listen to me about sleeping! ;)
~~ PEE!!!
          - That's right, I said it! Do you really want to fail the ACT because YOU HAD TO PEE?!?
~~ Don't stress!
          - You'll do better than you think you will :)


- Phones, iPods, anything electronic other than your calculator (see below for qualifications)
- Drugs -- you'd think this is a no-brain-er, but you'd be surprised
- White-out, highlighters, colored pencils,  etc
- Textbooks/study helps
- Reading books -- not even the teachers can have those!
- Any cheat-sheets or anything similar. This isn't measuring how well you can cheat!


- Test ticket (if you have one)
- Photo ID (if you don't have a licence, just use your school ID)
- At least 3-4 sharpened No. 2 pencils with an extra eraser (I recommend actual pencils, not mechanical ones -- even though I like those much better)
- a Calculator (TI-84 or less) (if you want a detailed list go here.)
- Some say a watch, but most rooms have a clock - and the test administrators will tell you when it will end and when there's 5 min left. But if you want to bring a watch just in case, make sure its a watch with like the hands and stuff. It can't have an alarm (even if it's turned off - it can't even be capable to make noises).
- Water bottle - you can't have it during the actual test, but your administrator should give you a break or two and you can use it then.
- Wear COMFY CLOTHES!! You're going to be in one seat for 4 HOURS! YOU WILL WANT TO BE COMFORTABLE! Also, wear layers. You never know if it will be cold or hot in your room.
- Yourself! -- be on time. In fact, be early! Last year, we took the Plan test, and my friends checked in and dropped their stuff off in the room and then went to the restroom. When they were done, the teacher was just barely closing the door, and they missed it! You do not want that to happen!
- A good attitude! - If you think positively, your results will reflect that!


- Pick a 'letter of the day': whenever you don't know a question and you need to guess, or if you have, like, 30 seconds left and 10 questions, pick a letter (I recommend C or B -- studies have shown that they are the more common answers) and use it on all of those last-minute questions
- Circle the answers in your test booklet and when you've finished that page, mark all of those in your scantron -- it's apparently supposed to shave off approx. 8-10 seconds on each test! Plus, you don't have to lose your place each time you need to fill in a bubble!
- Don't just skim through the reading section. Read the whole passage and then read the questions-- it makes it SO much quicker and easier.
- ANSWER EVERY QUESTION! Even if  you need to use the letter of the day for 10 questions (which did happen to me...), there's still a 25% chance that you'll get it right! And unlike the SAT,  the ACT doesn't dock you points for guessing or getting a wrong answer :)


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