Taking the time and improving ACT scores goes a long way toward getting students into the college or university of their choice.

So, should you try to improve your ACT score?

Can you improve your ACT score?

Most definitely.  Below we have enlisted some proven strategies and tips to help students improve their sectional performance in the ACT resulting in a better composite score.

ENGLISH

  • Read the sentence containing the underlined portion in its entirety. The non-underlined portion has clues to the correct answer choice. For e.g.: a comma and in the non-underlined portion signifies a full stop. So, it would help if you considered the following clause as an independent clause.
  • Remove prepositional phrases to perceive the subject and the verb clearly and avoid subject-verb agreement errors.
  • Always identify the subject and verb by default. The clause between them can usually be classified as a non-essential clause, modifier, or prepositional phrase. 
  • In punctuation questions, always look at the ending of the options. The split between the usage and non-usage of certain punctuations (presence of commas in B and D and no commas in A and C) can help you eliminate quicker and more home into the answer.
  • Be mindful of punctuation rules. Use them. But to stick to the rules, be not so blind as to forget the most basic rules. For e.g.: two sentences cannot be joined with a comma.
  • If a sentence starts with a description, immediately ask yourself, “What is it describing?”. This way, you will avoid modifier errors.
  • For pronoun agreement-based questions, replace the pronoun with a noun intended as per the intended meaning.
  • Do not dismiss an option or word just because you don’t understand it
  • Pay attention to capitalized keywords such as EXCEPT and NOT
  • As you finish the questions in a passage/paragraph, keep track of how ideas are organized. Every paragraph can be summarized in a topic sentence. This will prove useful in paragraph and sentence ordering questions

MATH

  • Understand your mistakes: Careless errors can cost you valuable points and render you irritated. Hence, be ruthless when it comes to counting your mistakes. Avoid making careless mistakes. A few examples of the common silly mistakes committed by students

*Careless mistake 1: Negative Signs and Subtraction
You can not prevent making mistakes, but you can minimize them to the best of your capability. Defeat careless mistakes by doing a triple-check on the negatives.
*Careless mistake 2: Parentheses and Distribution
Distribution mistakes often occur when Parentheses are involved in a math question along with the Exponents and Fractions.
*Careless mistake 3: ‘The Switcheroo.’
Avoid giving the value of ‘x’ when asked for ‘y’
Avoid answering for ‘x’ when asked for “2x.’
Avoid calculating radius instead of diameter, etc. To ensure you do not commit these mistakes, do a ton of practice. Solving 10-15 test papers is a must for better scores.

  • Understand your weakness level and bridge the content gap: To bridge the content gap, pay special attention to the topics you are uncomfortable with. Identify the type of problem you are having and work on it until you master it. The most important topics students get stuck in are:
    *Functions
    *Geometry
    *Modelling Equations
    Make sure you are not facing any issues on these topics. In case you are, seek professional help.
  • Re-read the question
    Read the questions carefully. Questions with detailed labels like title, axes, or a chart key should be given a reasonable time.  Avoid overlooking a key fact that might simplify the problem. Pay special attention to words like integer, even, odd and consecutive given in the question. Make sure you don’t confuse the area with the perimeter!
  • Don’t overuse your calculator: Your calculator can be handy but do not overuse it. Not every question requires a calculator. So, be wise to use one by keeping it simple!
  • Finish with extra time to double-check: Manage your time well and avoid getting stuck at a question for more than the required time. Your goal should be to solve every question and have extra time to recheck your flagged questions. Identify the issue and an opportunity for yourself to improve your score.READING
  • The most important ideas are generally found at the beginning or the ending of a passage.
  • When skimming, make sure that you pay extra attention to each paragraph’s first and the last lines. This will enable you to keep track of the flow of ideas and the transitions.

  • It is a good practice to reframe the question in simpler words for your own understanding of what, why, how.

  • Very often, the option choices start with a particular verb or a noun. For e.g., A. Persuade… B. Refute…..Prove….D. Classify….Knowing what the text says about the question will help you eliminate option choices quickly

  • The primary purpose of the passage is what the author wants you to believe.
  • Detail-oriented questions have line references. Make it a practice to read 5 lines above and below the highlighted lines to know the probable answer completely.

  • For vocab-in-context questions, read the relevant sentence while mentally blanking the word being tested and come up with your own word, no matter how simplistic.

  • In inference questions, the answer is often implicitly stated in the passage. The option will be of a similar nature. Do not rush to choose the option that jumps out at you.

SCIENCE

Data interpretation Question Tips

  • For passages with graphs and tables, observe the trend (increasing/ decreasing ) before you start attempting the passage.

  • Pay extra attention to the scientific notation of the dependent and independent variables.

  • The control variable is the quantity that remains unchanged with the course of the experiment.

Experiment Based  Question Tips 

  • Control Variable is the quantity that remains unchanged throughout the course of the experiment.

  • For interpolation and extrapolation, see the trend of the varying data.

  • For any experiment, one quantity will be changed per experiment. Write that quantity down for better understanding.

Conflicting View Points Question Tips

  • Read the entire passage thoroughly.

  • Write down important terms from the introduction paragraph.

  • Write down similarities and differences between the viewpoints before starting to answer the questions.

    Recommended: Take the ACT and SAT Diagnostic Test here

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