act tips

ACT Tips For Better Grades and a Better Chance to Reach Your Dream College

Updated on 21 June, 2022
Mrinal Mandal

Mrinal Mandal

Study Abroad Expert

The first step towards getting into your desired US college is giving entrance tests like the ACT that institutes use to select suitable candidates. Let's take a close look at the ABCs of the ACT exam and help you prepare with some essential ACT study tips.

ACT Exam

The ACT exam is a standard entrance test that most college aspirants take to secure their position in undergraduate universities abroad. 

The ACT reveals a high-schoolers knowledge and skills regarding reading comprehension, writing conventions, and other computational skills. It's no surprise that all reputed four-year US-based colleges demand the ACT. 

ACT Syllabus 

The ACT exam is divided into 5 primary sections. Here’s a detailed breakdown of the sections:

Sections

Duration

No. of Questions

Math

60 minutes

60

English

45 minutes

75 

Science

35 minutes

40

Reading

35 minutes

40

Writing (Optional)

40 minutes

1 writing prompt

 

The comprehensive examination features 215 questions along with 1 writing prompt. Overall, it lasts for 3 hours and 35 minutes. 

If you aim to tackle each section under its given time, you need to hone your skills and improve your performance. Well, that can only happen with a lot of practice. To achieve a top score, you need to understand the syllabus like the back of your hand!

Take a look at the elaborate divisions of the ACT exam in the following section.

Math Section Syllabus

The ACT allows you to make use of a calculator to solve questions relating to:

  • Pre-algebra includes fractions, percentages, number problems, mean/median/mode, ratios, statistics, etc.
  • Introductory algebra, including linear equations, quadratic equations, simplification, etc.
  • Intermediate algebra like sequence and patterns, equations, functions, inequalities, etc.
  • Trigonometry, including trigonometric equations, graphing the trigonometric functions and identities, etc.
  • Coordinate geometry like distance, slope, line equation, perpendicular and parallel lines, etc.
  • Plane geometry pertaining to volume, properties of different shapes, 3-D geometry, etc.

English Section Syllabus

English is not a challenging subject to gain mastery over. Most students have grown up upskilling their English language throughout their school life. This section requires you to display:

  • A clear understanding of grammatical rules concerning punctuation, usage, and sentence structure.
  • Skills relating to passage comprehension, modification, and tone development.

Science Section Syllabus

This section contains 7 passages, and relevant graphs, tables, and charts often accompany them. These questions revolve around:

  • Physics
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Earth sciences
  • Data representation

Reading Section Syllabus

The reading section features 4 passages that you must work upon in 40 minutes. These passages revolve around:

  • Literary fiction
  • Social science
  • Natural science
  • Humanities

The reading questions test your idea of the central theme. It also gauges your knowledge of specific phrases, contextual understanding of specific vocabulary terms, and the implied meaning behind certain words.

Writing Section Syllabus (Optional)

The writing section comes with a brief passage on a specific topic attached with 3 varying viewpoints. You are expected to analyze all the viewpoints, elaborate on their merits and demerits, and spot flawed reasoning. 

Now, entrance examinations can be immensely overwhelming, especially if you feel underprepared. There’s a way to fix that and sharpen your skills for each ACT section, and that is by keeping in mind a few ACT tips.

Recommended Reads:

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ACT Exam Sections Wise Tips

Let’s look at some of these resourceful ACT tips and tricks that will help you prepare for the exam.

ACT Math Tips

Mathematics is a highly daunting subject for most people, but the only way around it is through it. So, improve your speed and performance with the help of these ACT tips:

  • Memorize the standard mathematical formulas.
  • Practice as many official ACT model tests as possible.
  • Learn all the shortcuts and tricks to solving questions.

ACT English Tips

Here are some ACT English tips to prepare yourself:

  • Don't rush with the English section in practice tests.
  • Revise all language concepts regularly.
  • Understand and learn all the basic grammar rules like types of speeches, punctuation, etc. 
  • Inculcate the habit of reading to pass the comprehension section with flying colors.

ACT Science Tips

Science is as fascinating as you make it. Don't let the scientific concepts intimidate you. Follow these ACT Science tips and ace that test:

  • Know your fundamentals concerning biology, chemistry, and physics.
  • Read as many scientific journals as possible to understand the language used in the scientific passages.
  • Learn to read and examine the information presented via figures, tables, and graphs.

ACT Reading Tips

If you are an avid reader, this section will be your favorite. That said, here are some ACT reading tips for upskilling yourself:

  • Do as many practice tests as possible to understand the basic style of ACT reading questions. 
  • Practice with one eye on the clock because attempting 40 questions within 35 minutes is a challenge
  • Develop the habit of mindful reading
  • Learn to establish relationships between different parts of the passage consciously

ACT Writing Tips

The writing section is optional but indeed interesting for anyone who likes the art of writing. Take a look at the following ACT Writing tips to score better in the writing section:

  • Forming perspective is essential for any writing task, so read as many analytical pieces as possible and participate in debates. 
  • Push yourself to craft your unique viewpoints
  • Try to create a sorted structure for your essay first. It will make your writing part easier, allowing for a better tone and flow
  • Don't use fancy terms; instead, focus on communicating your idea. 

Last Minute ACT Tips

Here are last-minute ACT tips that should come in handy.

  • Revise the concepts you are reasonably confident about.
  • Take a full-length ACT practice test to time yourself and do a last-minute assessment of your preparation.
  • Always ensure that you are not surpassing your stipulated time for any section.
  • Take a good night’s sleep before the exam and attempt the test as calmly as possible.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How can I prepare well for ACT?

Here are some tips to prepare well -

  1. Revise the concepts you are reasonably confident about.
  2. Take a full-length ACT practice test to time yourself and do a last-minute assessment of your preparation.
  3. Always ensure that you are not surpassing your stipulated time for any section.
  4. Take a good night’s sleep before the exam and attempt the test as calmly as possible.

Q. Do ACT exam centres in India allow the use of a calculator?

Calculators aren’t a mandatory requirement when you appear for this test. Only a few types of calculators are allowed in every ACT test centres in India. If you are not sure if your device fulfills the specified criteria, it is advisable not to carry it to the ACT centre.

Q. What is the full ACT syllabus?

The ACT exam is divided into 5 primary sections. Here’s a detailed breakdown of the sections:

Sections

Duration

No. of Questions

Math

60 minutes

60

English

45 minutes

75 

Science

35 minutes

40

Reading

35 minutes

40

Writing (Optional)

40 minutes

1 writing prompt

 

The comprehensive examination features 215 questions along with 1 writing prompt. Overall, it lasts for 3 hours and 35 minutes.

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