As I’m writing this, the April 10 ACT is only 2 days away.
While this site is called SAT Success Secrets, I tutor a lot of kids for the ACT as well (it’s just less popular here in Los Angeles where I’m currently located). In order to help students around the country who are preparing to take the ACT, I’ve modified my popular “6 Tips for Last Minute SAT Preparation” post in order to give you the same coaching advantage that my SAT students get.
So whether you’ve left everything until the last minute, or you’ve worked hard and want a few last minute pointers, here are the essential last minute ACT prep tips to help you make the most of your remaining time before the exam.
Last Minute Tip #1: You already know most of what you need to know to do better on the ACT than you might think.
Remember, the ACT is not rocket science. You already know how to read, you don’t need to know anything special to do well on the Science section, and by now you’ve probably learned most of the math, grammar, and punctuation that you need to do well on those sections of the exam.
Last Minute Tip #2: Confidence is king.
Henry Ford, the guy who started the car company, once said, “Whether you think you can or can’t, you’re right.” You have to believe that you’re going to be successful.
Why? If you believe that you’ll do well, when you have trouble with certain questions, which you inevitably will, you won’t get frustrated and lose your focus. That brings us to the next tip.
Last Minute Tip #3: Relax and stay in control of your emotions.
If a particular question is giving you a hard time, skip it and let it go. It doesn’t mean anything, especially anything bad about you.
I’ve seen a lot of students make mistakes and then feel bad about themselves. I’ve done it myself many times in my life. It’s not worth it though. It doesn’t lead anywhere good.
If you dwell on the questions that give you trouble, or even take too much time on them, you’ll just get lost in negative thoughts and emotions and lose the focus that you need to do well.
When you take the test, treat it like a video game. You don’t get upset when you’re learning a new video game, do you? You certainly don’t stay upset for more than a few seconds.
Last Minute Tip #4: Focus.
Focus is the most important factor in getting the best ACT score possible. In fact, the reason that the previous tips are so important is that being confident, relaxed, and in control of your emotions are what allow you to stay focused.
Answers that seem right but are actually wrong are built into every section of the test. That’s why focus is so important.
When you’re taking the ACT, if you’re not paying full attention at every moment, you’ll get questions wrong when you know how to get them right. Whether you’re starting with a 21 in each section and working toward a 24, or you’re starting with a 32 and working for a perfect score of 36, focus gives you the most bang for your buck. It’s the absolute, number one key at all score levels.
Last Minute Tip #5: Make yourself laugh.
If you notice that you’re feeling tense or frustrated, think of something that makes you laugh. It’s the number one thing you can do to change your emotional state from negative to positive.
Last Minute Tip #6: Practice all you can until Friday afternoon.
Take some practice tests using official ACT material from ACTstudent.org, and work on your weak points.
Download the free Official ACT Practice Test; from the ACT website , use their additional practice questions, purchase their online prep course, or get their official study guide called “The Real ACT Prep Guide”.
Practice the other tips as you go through the material.
Good luck on Saturday. Let me know how it works out.