ACT prep and tips

ACT prep and tips

Jordan Pudvay, Social Media Editor

For students around the country, ACT testing is coming up fast. For Howell High School, it is normally the first week of March and that hits us quick as it’s already the first week of January. Preparing and studying for the testing is a rough and long process because unless you buy the practice booklets, there is not much you can do to prepare. Here are some tips to help you during the test (from the ACT website and my own experiences).

  • Watch your time and listen for the five-minute marks.
  • Answer the easy questions first, then go back and answer the more difficult ones if you have time remaining on that test.
  • Answer 15 questions at a time in your booklet then go back and bubble the answers.
  • Always try to eliminate as many options as you can on difficult questions.
  • Answer every question. Your scores on the multiple-choice tests are based on the number of questions you answer correctly; there is no penalty for guessing.
  • If you complete a test before time is called, recheck your work on that test.

The makers of the ACT have plenty of books and online help for you to do to prepare for the test itself. On the official ACT website,, there is a section for test prep alone, which includes seven different links. There is a link to buy a personal online prep for $24.95 and a Real ACT Prep Guide for $30.95,  which I think is a little high when there is a free download of a booklet called Preparing for the ACT. The booklet is available from most high schools and colleges. Personally, I would download this booklet instead of anything else. Just glancing at it, I wish I had known about it as a junior; it includes test information, complete practice tests with scoring keys, and a writing prompt.

I would also highly recommend taking one or two tests before your actual school assigned one, because it helps you prepare by knowing more about the test and how it works rather than going in blind. I know personally I wish I would have taken it before because my score was in the low 20s out of 36. I believe that taking it more than once, even if the school one is your first, is the best route to go. On average, students get higher scores the more times they take it. Here are some before test tips:


    • Get plenty of rest the night before test day, eat a good breakfast and dress comfortably.
    • Remember your ID or you won’t be able to test.


  • Make sure you have more than two pencils, erasers, and a calculator. (Prohibited calculators include TI-89, TI-92, TI-Nspire, HP Prime, HP 48GII and HP 40G, HP 49G, or HP 50.)
  • Be ready to begin testing after everyone has been checked in and seated.