ACT test taking strategies that will help benefit high school students


   As the ACT approaches this year for Sheridan High School sometime possibly in June, many high school students will have troubles dealing with stress beforehand or during the test. While the ACT can be a very difficult test and seem overwhelming, there are several ways to prepare oneself to succeed and get the best score they possibly can. 

    Before test day, stress can be relieved by starting preparation early. This is important to reducing stress and feeling overwhelmed, because it will help students learn to pace themselves with the time given. Even working on one section per day or so will be beneficial; this way teens will still have time to work on homework or other out-of-school activities that will not take them away from a few hours of their free-time. With that, instead of going into it blindly, taking plenty of practice tests will help decrease stress significantly because high school students would be more prepared  for what they will see on the real ACT test such as the format, content, and amount of time they have per section. Doing so will also help testors figure out how much time they need to manage and how quickly to answer their questions. 

   Some students are better at test-taking while others struggle. Whether a teen is in the category of being a better test taker, it is important to always refine test-taking strategies. For example, using a process of elimination for questions that might be uncertain helps rule out a couple of answers, leaving only two possible answers left. This provides a 50/50 guess and the odds of getting the answer correct is more likely. For questions that a student is unsure of, the best thing to do is skip over them and come back once all the questions are answered with the remaining time. Another solution is choosing the same answer when guessing on a question, such as B or C, which will raise the chances of getting the unknown answers right. Something that high school kids do not want to do is leave any questions blank. Luckily, the ACT does not count any answers wrong. Only correct answers are counted into your overall score, which is why students should never leave a question blank. Answering every question, even if unsure, just makes a student bound to get a few of them right and improve their score. 

   On the day before the actual test itself, there are several things a student can do to relieve stress. Getting everything ready and sleeping and eating properly the night beforehand is ideal for high school students taking the test. Adequate sleep provides more energy in the morning and focus during the test. In order to maintain this energy, eating a healthy breakfast will keep steady energy throughout the test. During the breaks that are given during the test, using that time is essential to rest and recharge for the following sections. Doing breathing exercises or relaxing is helpful for minimizing stress and will increase testing abilities. 

   While stress can be unavoidable while taking the ACT, no matter how well students prepare, they will find themselves feeling some stress during the exam. Although it may feel unavoidable, if a student has a positive perspective throughout the test, it can be overcome. Feeling like there is competition against other students, feeling rushed, or feeling that the ACT is incredibly important ,that it is a life or death situation, are a few common thoughts while stressing out during the test. Little do most teens realize, it is not about other students when taking the ACT. Their score does not affect anybody else, so focusing on oneself and taking the time needed to fit an individual’s ability to finish the test is more important. 

   Overall, the ACT is a difficult exam that can feel like it depends on someone’s entire future. While this can be true to an extent, the test itself does not define an individual’s character or ability to succeed in life in general. Feeling stress is common, especially with the ACT; however, it is not something that should make a student incredibly anxious. Following the options above will prepare and encourage students to just do their best and stay focused when exam day arrives. 

   With that, it is equally important to take the test for juniors this year due to the ACT possibly being optional.