Scoring High on the ACT

Like the SAT, the ACT is a standardized exam that is widely accepted by colleges and universities when they assess potential candidates for admissions. An acronym for American College Testing, the ACT is intended to test college readiness in students who wish to attend a postsecondary institution. Currently, the test consists of an English, Mathematics, Science Reasoning, and optional writing test. Two reading sections are also included. Therefore, students who wish to get a high score on the ACT should focus on strengthening their skills in these areas. However, there are also general test preparation practices that may help to boost students’ potential score.


Start Early

As with any exam, it is best to begin preparing for the ACT early. Ideally, several months should be allocated to standardized test preparation. Getting an early start will also enable students to avoid fatigue and feeling overwhelmed by spending an hour or two a day studying for the exam as opposed to devoting entire days at a time focusing on the ACT just prior to the test date. Having ample time to prepare will also enable students to fine-tune their test prep schedule by allocating more time to areas in which they need more work on than others.

Take a Practice Exam

Students should take at least one practice exam to assess their current skills in light of their desired score. The results from a practice exam can enable students to determine areas of strength as well as weakness. Students should then concentrate more on the areas in which they need to improve to reach their goal. It is also important to sit for a practice exam that mimics the test day environment. This will enable the student to anticipate test day procedure, which will improve his or her comfort level on the day of the test. Students should opt to take the PSAT, and they may find other free or low-cost practice tests that are administered by companies that specialize in test prep.

Get Help

Some students opt to take test prep classes at a test prep center. These are often more costly, but are generally effective. It is important to do research prior to enrolling in a course to ensure that the company that offers the course is reputable. Taking test prep classes is not by any means necessary. Many students also prepare by using exam preparation books, CDs, online resources, and even by hiring a tutor to offer guidance in studying the content covered.