So, you’ve registered for the ACT. You have your test date, meaning you know which Saturday of the year you’re going to have to waste four hours filling in bubbles with a No. 2 pencil. Here’s the worst thing about the ACT: it’s actually important. So… where to begin? Where do you start in learning how to study for the ACT? What are the best test tips? There are 735,148 results when you type in ACT on Amazon (check, we’re not kidding). There are probably hundreds of local tutoring companies who are offering the “best” service to study you for the test (at an exceptionally high hourly rate). The beginning of this process can feel like a long, winding, road. And it is. We’re not here to lie to you. You’re going to put in hours into studying and taking practice tests. But there’s an effective way to manage these hours, balance all the different options in front of you, and choosing the routes that are best. It’s all about having the right test tips.
The most important thing about the ACT is that it is predictable. If you know how to study for the ACT, you will know exactly what to expect on the test and when to expect it. It is predictable, calculated, and contains little to no surprises. So, with that in mind, let’s discuss how to study for the ACT, and the best test tips.
The section on the ACT that provides the highest percentage of difficulty for most students is the ACT Math test. It’s the longest section both in time allotted (60 minutes) and in the number of questions (60 questions). Logic would tell you that this mean you should spend an average on 1 minute per question. While this logic stands mathematically, it does not apply to the actual test. There will be questions that take you twenty seconds to solve, and some that will take up to 3 minutes.
Welcome to the ACT English test, where you’ll see lots of underlined words, boxed in paragraphs, over punctuated English, and under developed fragments.
Here are the details: the ACT English test is 45 minutes long, with 75 questions split over 5 different passages. There are exactly 15 questions per passage, and all are roughly the same length.
An important note: The essays and passages on the ACT English test are written in the voice and quality of average high school upperclassmen. This means that you should always be on the lookout for colloquial language, but know that the passages will not be out of your pay grade when it comes to reading comprehension. You’re not going to get a complicated breakdown of nuclear physics or the planetary orbit (Don’t be too upset, those will be on the science and reading tests).
As we discussed in the How to Study for the ACT post, there are 867,271 results for “ACT” on Amazon. If you know that 867,271 are a lot of results, you’re going to do well on the Math test. All kidding aside, the most important tool for studying for the ACT is the book or course you choose to purchase. To make things easy for you, we’ve done extensive research into all the prep books on the market. After much debate, we’re excited to release our rankings of the best ACT prep books.
Don’t forget to check out TutorMe’s Online ACT Preparation course, the perfect supplement for all ACT prep books. The course features over nine hours of fully animated content and 500+ practice problems.