12 Tips to Taking the ACT Test

The ACT® consists of four multiple-choice tests in English, math, reading, and science—with an optional writing test. Each multiple-choice subject test contains questions with four or five answer options.   

The best way to prepare for the ACT is to take challenging classes in high school. However, there are test-day tips and strategies that you can use as helpful tools before and during the ACT test:  

  • Get familiar with the test. Review the information found in the Preparing for the ACT practice booklet. Note the subjects, topics, and content areas that are covered on the test.   
  • Identify areas to improve. Use the practice test to identify the subjects that are most challenging for you.  
  • Update your knowledge and skills. Once you identify the materials you should focus on improving, consider dedicating time to completing additional test prep or taking coursework in those areas. Before taking the test, review content areas that make up large portions of the test. 

General Test Taking Tips:  

  1. Gather everything you need the day before the test, including: an approved calculator, test ticket, sharpened pencils, and photo ID. 
  2. Double check the registration time and location. Make sure you know how to get to the test center and how much time you should allow for travel. Plan to arrive 20-30 minutes early to get registered and settle in. 
  3. Get plenty of sleep the night before the test. 
  4. Wear comfortable clothing and eat a healthy breakfast the day of the test. 
  5. As you get started, take a few deep breaths to calm yourself. Keep a positive attitude. 
  6. Listen carefully to instructions and ask questions if you hear something you don’t understand. 
  7. Focus your attention entirely on your work. 
  8. Position your answer sheet right next to your test booklet so you can mark answers quickly and accurately. 
  9. Read each question and possible responses completely before answering. If you’re not sure of the answer, choose the one you think is best and move on. 
  10. Be sure to answer every question—there’s no penalty for guessing. 
  11. Pace yourself and occasionally check the time. 
  12. If you finish before time is up, reread the questions and check your answers.  

Want more test-taking tips? Download the eBook: 3 Stages of Taking a College Entrance Exam