Everything You Need to Know about ACT

We’ve talked here about the two major standardized tests for those wishing to graduate in the United States: the SAT and ACT. Today we are going to talk a little more about the latter, American College Testing. Divided basically into 4 different sections, ACT is known to be a concise and straightforward test.

ACT sections

The 4 sections mentioned above are as follows: English Section, Science Section, Math Section and Reading Section. The first, which consists of 75 questions, assesses candidates’ ability to recognize grammatical, organizational and style errors in different sentences. The Mathematics section evaluates, in 60 questions, points such as algebra, solution of equations and geometry.

The science section, despite its name, does not focus exactly on subjects like biology and physics in its 40 questions. The key point of this segment is the students’ ability to understand text. The name is given by the use of passages that describe scientific experiments as a starting point. Tables and graphs are also part of the set. Finally, the reading section assesses on 40 other questions the ability to read and interpret in 4 different sectors: humanities, fiction, social sciences and natural sciences.

ACT Features

As stated above, ACT is very objective evidence. In this way, the big secret is, in general, to ignore the irrelevant information present in the questions and “get to the point”. But how to do this in practice? In English questions, for example, the shortest answers are usually the ones to choose. Remember that the longer the answer, the more distant it will be from the standard established by the test.

In mathematics, focus on numbers. Their context is generally not so necessary. The fundamental thing is to identify the present quantities of the statement and to proceed to the numerical resolutions. Another tip: in the reading section, the first and last paragraphs should be given the most attention. Remember that the race time is not that long. In the science area, to save time, focus on the data in the graphs and tables and view the words in the text as complements.

The ACT also has an optional Writing section that is not considered in the final test score. But remember: despite this, it is required by a considerable number of universities. So it is worth researching the requirements of your institution of interest before deciding whether or not to do this part.

The total duration of the test is 3 hours and 35 minutes, including the time for optional writing, 30 minutes. The final grade, which is an average of the 4 sections, ranges from 1 to 36 points. The editorial note, which is the part, can range from 1 to 12 points.

To check more information about the test locations and the dates of the tests visit the organization’s website at TOPSCHOOLSINTHEUSA.

6 Steps to Prepare for ACT

Along with the SAT, the ACT is one of the main tests that must be done to be able to enter a university in the United States. According to ABBREVIATIONFINDER, ACT stands for American College Test. So, just like in the Brazilian competition, you need to prepare for the ACT. But how to do that? To help you, we have listed 6 steps with tips for you to prepare and get a good test score:

How do I prepare for ACT?

1. Understand the structure of the test

The ACT test consists of four multiple-choice sections: English, Reading, Mathematics and Science, each with 36 points. The rounded average of the scores for these four sections becomes your final grade. There is also an essay section, which is optional, with a score of 12 points. However, it does not count towards your final score.

Thus, the test has a total of 216 questions, divided into 2 hours and 55 minutes, without writing, or 3 hours and 35 minutes with writing.

2. Identify your weaknesses

Now that you know how ACT works, you can establish a baseline of your own skills. In this case, the most important part is to identify your weaknesses, so that you can focus on them when preparing for ACT.

To do this, you can take the exam’s timed training tests, which are available free of charge on the internet, both online and in PDF format. Find a quiet place, get a pencil number 2 and a calculator model that is released for use in the test. This way, you will create an environment as similar as possible to the real test.

Identify your weaknesses

After taking the practice test, use the scoring guidelines provided at the end of the brochure to find out your grade. The sections where you have a higher or lower score, of course, will show you at which points you are stronger or weaker. In addition, examine your incorrect responses to identify patterns of errors. With this information in hand, you will be able to delineate a starting point of which topics you should study more closely.

3. Set a desired score

Once you are aware of your skills, set a desired score for how much you want to improve. Your target score should be reasonable in relation to the amount of time you have to prepare for the ACT. For example, an improvement of 1 to 2 points in a month is entirely reasonable. An improvement of 6 points in this period is not very palpable. In addition, your target score should reflect the level of the universities you are interested in.

You can follow these estimates to define how many hours to study to improve your score:

  • 0 to 1 points: 10 hours
  • 1 to 2 points: 20 hours
  • 2 to 4 points: 40 hours
  • 4 to 6 points: 80 hours
  • 6 to 9 points: 150+ hours

4. Create a study schedule

The next step in preparing for the ACT is to create a study schedule. In that case, it is best to set aside a regular number of hours during the week to study, so that you are not overwhelmed by the test. So, to determine how much time you should take, divide the total number of hours you think you need to study by the number of weeks until your test. For example, if you need to study 80 hours and there are 12 weeks until the test, try to study about 6 hours and 40 minutes a week.

Create a study schedule

5. Learn the essential content

Once you have a goal and a schedule, it’s time to learn the content! When we speak of “content” we refer to the knowledge necessary to answer ACT questions. As such, this includes learning English grammar and spelling, improving your math skills, reviewing how to write a hypothesis for the Science section, and so on.

In that case, you should learn all the content you don’t already know and review what you already know. There is no problem in devoting a large part of your time to preparing for the Mathematics section, if that is your weakest area. But you should still dedicate yourself a little to the English section, even if that is your strength.

6. Get ready for the race day

There is no point in setting aside weeks to prepare for the ACT if the day of the test comes and you are not feeling well. So get plenty of sleep the night before, have a hearty, balanced breakfast full of protein, and put a pencil (or more) and a calculator in your backpack!

Get ready for the race day