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General Test Taking Tips

from Cracking the ACT by The Princeton Review


1.  Now, Later, Never

As you take the test, mentally categorize each question as one you can answer now, one you should skip and answer later, or one that you’ll never answer with confidence.  For the answer later questions circle the question number in your booklet and keep going. Once you’ve made it all the way through that passage, come back to those circled questions and try again. For the answer never questions, the Princeton Review folks in Cracking the ACT say to choose a “letter of the day.”  They say that picking one letter and bubbling it for all answer never questions will allow you to score higher than randomly picking a letter for these tough questions.  It’s probably a math thing that I can’t understand, but they stand by it.  Actually, you would need to pick letters of the day since the test uses both A–D and E–H options.  Perhaps a number of the day would work best:  option one or option two…

2.  Numbers Matter

As you take the test make sure to check the number of the question against the number on your answer sheet.  Imagine your score if you got off by just one during the test.  Ouch!

3.  The Night Before

Take the evening off from studying before hitting the hay early.  The morning of the test is a good time to do a few sample questions before the big event as a warm up.  I actually worked the night before until 12:30 and then got up at 5:00 for a drive to Springfield for the test.  I remember falling asleep during a test, which may account for my lackluster scores.  Get your full night's rest and more if you can.

4. The Process of Elimination

If the right answer doesn’t jump out at you immediately, it’s likely that wrong answers will.  Use that in your favor.  If you eliminate every answer that can’t be right, you will find the one that isn’t wrong.