The ACT isn’t that big of a deal. At least that’s what you are trying to tell yourself as you pull this up at midnight the Friday before the test. To make it easier on you, I have compiled a list of tips and tricks that will help you succeed on test day.
- Get a Good Night of Sleep
I’m calling out all of my procrastinators and freak studiers: hate to break it to you, if you have put off all of your studying to the night before, you are in trouble. The only way to improve on the ACT is repetition, and there is no substitute for practice. Your extra two hours of studying the night before are not going to help you. Instead, those two hours should be used for sleep. This is not a test you can be tired for.
- Prepare your Materials the Night Before
I have heard too many horror stories from peers about forgetting supplies on test day. Nothing is more embarrassing than having to ask a proctor for a pencil or calculator. That brings up another point: you might as well start looking for your freshman year calculator now because the ACT is quite ambiguous on its requirements for calculators, so it is worth your time to just bring a calculator without graphing functions. The night before the test, the last thing you need to do before going to bed is gather all of your supplies and place them somewhere that you cannot forget them. I personally suggest on top of your keys or right in front of your front door.
- Eat Breakfast Before the Test
The only thing more important than waking up in the first place is eating a full breakfast. This could be anything ranging from scrambled eggs to a few pancakes. Breakfast is important because the whole process of preparing and eating breakfast not only wakes you up, but also provides you with fuel to focus on the ACT from start to finish. It is important to remember that this test is a marathon, not a sprint. All sections carry the same weight and are equally important to your overall score. Before you convince yourself that sipping on a cup of coffee prior to the test is going to last you, think again.
- Skip the Questions that you don’t know how to do
This is a common mistake among first time takers of the ACT. The test only allows a certain amount of time for each of the four sections and it cannot be wasted. It’s crucial that you don’t get hung up and frustrated on one question. This not only wastes your time but also increases your stress in an unwanted way. So, if you catch yourself staring down at a question without an idea of how to do it, skip it and come back to it with the remaining time after you finish the section.