When thinking about tests especially the ACT many people freeze up and their mind goes blank. I believe that if you have an idea about what the test is and how to attack, the better you will do. Think of any goal that you have ever set for yourself. You know that when setting goals for yourself it is hard at first to accomplish the goal, but the more you work at it, the better you become.
For example, let's say you set a healthy living goal after eating for years on junk or convenience foods. At first this may be hard because the food that you ate before might taste really good. Looking at a salad or veggies and believing they could tastes as good as greasy french fries gets your face all scrunched up into a disgusted look. But the more you work at your goal, the better you do.
The ACT is the same thing, once you work on the strategies that are out there, you are going to do better on the test and get the scholarships that you want. Let me introduce you to the ACT and what it is all about.
The ACT helps people get into the right schools along with scholarships to alleviate the burden of the cost of college. It is not like any high school test of remembering facts and figures. You can control your score if you know how to. No, I don't mean cheating. I mean preparing ahead of time. When you are training for a marathon, you learn the steps that it takes to go from the couch to running a full marathon. You can't expect to go from the couch to a 5k overnight. The ACT is no different.
Kaplan University suggests that you become a savvy test taker by using these four basic steps: learn the test, learn the Kaplan method and strategies, learn the tested material, and practice, practice, practice.
Learn the test
Even though the ACT doesn't require you to memorize any facts or figures on the test. Kaplan does however suggests you to memorize the directions to each part of the test. You have precious minutes that you don't want waste on the directions. If you memorize them ahead of time, then you only have to scan for any changes and move on. If you study for the test using the Kaplan method, you will learn the types of questions that the test asks, so you can then create your own test questions. Creating your own questions allows you to use everyday reading material like an ACT test. You will get used to the method so much that it becomes second nature. So when it comes to the test, you won't have to spend precious minutes trying to rack your brain to remember each type of question.
You will get extra points by guessing on the test. Other standardized test doesn't allow for guessing, but the ACT encourages it. I had a student who took my class for the first time and was given a baseline ACT. I wanted to see what he knew so I could better serve him. He finished the ACT in an hour. The test normally takes three!!!! I encouraged him to take more time on the test but he refused saying I don't know it now so why bother. I looked over his answer key and he had only answered maybe half of the questions. The other questions he left blank. Because of this, he got a 14 on his baseline score. Needless to say after taking my class, he learned that it was ok to guess. He took the ACT twice and received a 10,000 scholarship to college.
You'll know how to write a high-scoring essay...That is if you decide to take that portion of the test.
Learn the Kaplan Methods and Strategies
Colleges want to know if you can think strategically and creatively which is exactly what the ACT tests for. Colleges don't want students who want to get scores the easy way. Just like a poorly written resume will knock you out of the running for a job, a poor ACT score will knock you out of the running for a good school. Changing the way you think about the questions will help. This is called the ACT Mind-set. Learn a plan of attack for each subject test. Learn the unofficial ways of getting right answers fast. Have you ever been told to skip around answering the easy questions first? The Kaplan method encourages that too. Learn the uncharacteristic aspects of the ACT format. The answer is always in front of you.
Learn the Tested Material
I have been helping students increase their scores on the ACT for over a year now and one of the leading fears is the math test. The Kaplan method gives you every concept that you need to learn in order to be successful on the ACT. In fact the math test tests about 100 different concepts. If you learn these concepts and know the answer has to be in front of you, then you'll ace the math portion. The science test gives you many different tables and graphs along with diagrams that are meant to be intimidating. Once you learn how to attack them, they will no longer be intimidating. The English language is hard to learn, but the Kaplan method gives you the specific rules that you need in order to master that test.
Some of the reading passages are long and hard to understand but once you understand the different types of questions and what they are looking for; then the reading passages will not defeat you. (yes, even those who feel they are not good readers.)
Practice, Practice, Practice
The more you practice, the better you will be come on the test. Think of any sport, race, musical, or theatrical event you have even been in. If you practiced for said event you did better. The same goes for doing well on the ACT. Once you practice, you will feel more confident the day of the test.
What are some strategies that you use to ACE the ACT? I would like to hear from you. Please email me your ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org
My name is Stena Schmitt.
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