General College ACT Strategies

General College ACT Strategies

Larry Freedman (Director, Freedman Educational Services) gives expert video advice on: Should I guess when I don't know an ACT answer?; What are some common mistakes students make on the ACT? and more...

In what order should I answer the questions on the ACT?

You want to answer the questions in the order that they're given. On the math section of the ACT the questions start easy and get progressively harder. So you want to work your way through the easy to the midrange questions and finally, the hard questions are going to appear at the end. If you don't quite get to those hard questions at the end, well, that's okay. They are hard and most people don't answer them correctly. But you want to make sure you've hit all the easy and the midrange questions on the math test. Now, on the reading, the English, and the science test. The questions don't increase in order of difficulty so, again it's important to move at a nice pace through the first question so that you at least look at all the questions on each subtest.

Should I guess when I don't know an ACT answer?

You should always guess on the ACT. Since there's no guessing penalty (that is, no points are subtracted for incorrect answers) it's only to your advantage to answer every question on the test. Now, if you find that you're running out of time, and let's say there are ten seconds to go, just fill in the remaining empty bubbles on your answer sheet so that you've completed every question on each sub-test.

What are some common mistakes students make on the ACT?

A common mistake that many students make is that they're not familiar with the format and the directions of the test. So once the test starts they're spending way too much time trying to figure out what they're supposed to do. Another mistake that students unfortunately can make is mis-bubbling their answer sheet. In otherwords they'll put the answer to question four in the spot for question three and that will throw off the entire test. You want to make sure you put the question to every answer in your test booklet as well as transfer it to the answer sheet. Another common mistake that many students make is one of timing and pacing. I think the hardest part of the ACT is that you have a lot of questions to do in a very limited amount of time. So you don't want to get stuck on any one question. Keep the test moving. Finally, it's always important to guess on the ACT. Students make a mistake by leaving questions blank. There's no downside to guessing. There's a good chance you might guess it right.