12 tips to help you prepare for the ACT

freshmen chatting with books in hand

The many months of studying for the ACT have finally come to an end and it’s your time to shine! GEAR UP students agree that the day before a big test can be pretty nerve-wracking. So, we’ve teamed up with ACT to provide you 12 tips to help you rest, refuel and test for success on the big day!

1.) One day before the big test, gather everything you’ll need, including an approved calculator, test ticket, sharpened pencils and a photo ID. Double-check the registration time and location of your test and plan ahead to allow for travel.

2.) Plan to arrive 30 minutes early to register and settle in before your test. Use the extra time to calm your nerves and get focused.

3.) Remember to get plenty of sleep the night before the test. In fact, try getting in bed earlier than usual just in case your nerves keep you up a bit longer. Do not stay up late to cram!

4.) On the morning of the test, try to eat a protein-filled breakfast that will give you a boost of energy. Avoid eating a heavy breakfast as it could make you sluggish and tired while testing. If you don’t normally eat breakfast, grab a breakfast bar or piece of fruit instead.

5.) Wear comfortable clothing and don’t forget to bring a sweater or jacket. If you get hot or cold, you can add or remove layers as needed.

6.) Once you’ve settled into your seat, take three or more deep breaths to calm your nerves and get focused. Keep a positive attitude and remember to take your time.

7.) Listen carefully to the instructions and ask the staff questions if you hear something you don’t understand. It’s better to know than not know.

8.) Focus on your work and keep your eyes on your own test.

9.) Position your answer sheet next to your test booklet so you can mark answers quickly and accurately.

10.) Read each question and possible responses completely before marking an answer choice. If you’re unsure of the answer, choose one you think is best and move on. Even if you have to guess, answer every question––it’s better than leaving a question completely unanswered and losing points. Remember, there’s no penalty for incorrect answers.

11.) Pace yourself and check the time occasionally. Take advantage of the breaks provided in between sections to hydrate and stretch.

12.) If you finish early, use the extra time to reread the questions and double-check your answers. It doesn’t hurt to go back and make sure you didn’t miss anything.

If you or your student is a junior in high school, let GEAR UP help you get prepared for the ACT. Contact your student’s school counselor or GEAR UP school specialist to ensure your student is enrolled in our ACT® Online Prep. ACT® Online Prep is an engaging test prep resource that provides students with a personalized learning path for test success. Learn more online at okgearup.org/act-prep/.