Study Tips for Juniors Taking the ACT

Thursday, January 16, 2020

The ACT assessment is now roughly on par with the SAT in popularity among high school students. In 2018, about 1.9 million U.S. students took the ACT, falling just short of the approximately 2 million students who took the SAT, according to the Washington Post.

More than a dozen states require students to take the ACT before graduating high school, and although Arizona isn't one of them, our district will still see hundreds of students take this renowned college admission assessment before the school year ends.

If you're a high school junior who is preparing to take the ACT this semester, here are some tips to boost your preparation for and, ultimately, success on the test:

Small Chunks

If you're doing practice tests, try to break them up into small pieces. For instance, pick five problems a day to practice and review.

The PVSchools District sent ACT practice booklets home with juniors who are taking the ACT. This booklet features various assessment, and it's easy to break each assessment into smaller parts to practice a few problems each day. 

When you come across a problem that's particularly challenging, you're encouraged to discuss it with your peers, teachers, and/or parents.

Do a Full Assessment – Untimed

Once you've gotten the hang of working on a few problems each day, try to take a full practice assessment – without worrying about the time. So if you have the ACT practice booklet, for instance, choose one of the assessments and try to complete it in one day. Once you've finished, spend the next week reviewing the problems that gave you the most trouble. This is another point where you may want to consult peers, teachers, and parents to help you with the most confusing problems.

Take a Complete Timed Test

Eventually, you have to build up the stamina needed on test day. If you have the practice booklet, look to page 3 to discover the assigned testing times for each subject area. As you get closer to test day, you should try to mimic taking the actual assessment – and time yourself while you do so. While you're working against the clock, you find out whether you're progressing through the test too slowly or too quickly.

Other ACT Resources

Besides the practice booklet, look to these free online resources to help you with your ACT preparation:

District ACT Administration

We sent home an ACT practice booklet with juniors last semester. The booklet contains a practice test for Math, English, Reading, and Science, along with an optional Writing test. If you did not receive a practice booklet, please contact your high school.