Most high school students don’t prepare much for the ACT, but even those who do will turn their focus primarily to content. In other words, they’ll concentrate solely on learning topics such as the rules of standard comma usage or the difference between who and whom.
Isn’t content important? Of course, it is. Not obtaining a basic grasp of specific aspects of English grammar, usage, and mechanics will considerably diminish your potential score. If you’re unable to spot a comma splice when you see one, you’re likely to lose a number of score points just for that.
But before you delve into the details of the test questions and the hours of practice needed to truly maximize your performance on the ACT, consider whether you have a game plan for attacking the test. Most test takers simply register for the test, maybe do a little bit of practice, and just hope for the best. But isn’t your ACT score much too important to rest your performance on mere hope? We think so, especially when there’s a much better way to prepare.
We can teach you to think tactically about the test. We’ll tell you the truth about how the ACT is scored, what you should know about the its structure, where and how to practice for the test, why you should abandon certain ideas about tests that you picked up in school, and much more.
But most importantly, we’ll show you how to implement our unique strategy for harnessing this information so that you can use it to your advantage. In other words, we’ll show you how to start thinking like a smart test taker.
Here’s an example. The English section of the ACT, which contains 75 questions, allows test takers 45 minutes to complete it. When we ask our students if that’s fair, most of them immediately respond that it is clearly unfair. Why? Is it really so clear? The truth is that it isn’t, but most students operate under the belief that, for a test to be fair, you should at least have one minute per question. Since the English section allows, on average, less than a minute per question, many students rush to brand it “unfair.”
If you think about it, though, one minute per question as a standard of fairness is pretty arbitrary. If we gave you a test of ten questions in Swedish (assuming, of course, that you don’t know Swedish) and allowed you ten minutes to complete it, that would be horribly unfair. On the other hand, if we gave you a 26-minute test that asks you to name the letters of the English alphabet, you would have a ridiculous amount of extra time.
For each test, to truly assess “fairness,” what really matters is the level of difficulty of the questions and the amount of time required, on average, to answer them. In our opinion, the English section turns out to be the most fair section on the ACT in terms of time because the average question requires about 30 seconds or less to answer.