Are you a high school student, or the parent of a high school student, who is preparing to take the ACT for the first time? If so, then today’s post from College Planning Experts is perfect for you.

At College Planning Experts, we’re not a test prep company, and we know that there is a lot more to getting into your dream college than just your test scores, but they are still a part of the equation. So, today’s post is all about giving yourself the easy advantages that you need to help boost your base score on the ACT a couple of points.

For more help with college planning and financial aid help, visit College Planning Experts online today, call us, or sign up for one of our free college planning workshops.


Be Ready For The Test

The most important thing that you can do for the ACT is to be ready. Sound simple? Well, it is. And yet, most people fail to prepare in even the most simple of ways.


  • Take a practice run. Ask your teachers for practice problems, look up sample sections online, or pick up a practice book and run through some questions in each section so you know what you’re getting into ahead of time. This will reduce your anxiety and give you an edge.
  • Start getting more sleep sooner. Ever have someone tell you to get a good night’s sleep to do better on a test? Well, that’s true if you usually get a good night’s sleep. Otherwise, changing your sleeping pattern ahead of an important test can actually make you feel more sluggish. Start getting a good night’s sleep about a full week before the test so you are well rested.
  • Eat the right way. The night before, have a decent sized and healthy dinner. That morning, avoid drinking too many fluids and stick with simple, but nutrient-rich foods like peanut butter toast, fruit (bananas especially, or smoked salmon on a bagel.
  • Pack your materials the night before. The last thing you want to do is be stressed about running behind for a test. Make sure that you have your test-approved calculator, No. 2 pencils, and any other materials (eraser, test-timer watch, etc.) accounted for the night before the test, so you can wake up, handle your morning routine, and head out for success.

Know What You’re In For

The ACT is broken into four sections, with an optional writing section. Each section has a set number of questions and time limits. Plan your strategy accordingly.

Section Breakdown Time Limit # of Questions Time per Question
English 5 sections of 15 questions each 45 min. 75 36 seconds
Math 60 questions 60 min. 60 1 min
Reading 4 sections of 10 questions each 35 min. 40 52.5 seconds
Science 6-7 sections, 40 total questions 35 min. 40 52.5 seconds


Schedule Multiple Tests For The Best Results

For most students, their first test is their worst test. If you want to improve your score, schedule at least 2 tests (although three is recommended), and study in between each one, focusing on the areas you can improve the most as represented on your test score breakdown sheet.

For All Your Non-Test Prep Related Questions, Contact College Planning Experts

We hope you’ll find these tips and tricks helpful when taking your ACT test. For help with all of the other aspects of college planning, like discovering your perfect major, choosing the right school, and planning to pay for college, contact the professionals at College Planning Experts today.

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