5 Most Common Mistakes To Avoid When Preparing for the ACT

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If your student is preparing for the ACTs, make sure they are aware of these valuable tips to help them study and perform as best they can when test day comes. Don’t forget, higher ACT scores help your student not only get into more selective schools, but can also help them receive more merit scholarships to pay for college.

Mistake #1: Take practice tests without reviewing your incorrect answers

A Better Approach: Review the questions you answered incorrectly and convince yourself why ACT’s answer is correct.

Why this Works: When you review the question you missed and the correct answer you are less likely to make this same mistake on the actual ACT.


Mistake # 2: Working ACT test questions in the order in which they appear on the test

A Better Approach: To skip and come back to work difficult or long questions

Why this Works: The ACT questions are not ordered in terms of difficulty which means simple/easy questions may be located near the end of the test. Therefore, you can increase your total number of correct answers by answering all easier questions first and then spend the last few minutes working more difficult or involved questions.

Mistake # 3: Not spending enough study time to achieve a high score on the ACT

A Better Approach: Begin to study for the ACT at least 2 months prior to your test date and study for 12 hours per week.

Why this Works: Studying for the ACT for this length of time will familiarize you with the test and can lead to improvement in weak areas.


[If your student needs accommodations on either the ACT or SAT, don’t waste time – apply early in case you have to make an appeal.  Find out more about how to get accommodations on the ACT/SAT.  ] 


Mistake #4: Randomly guess answers to ACT questions

A Better Approach: Use the Process of Elimination (POE) to eliminate extreme or unreasonable answer choices.

Why this Works: Using POE will decrease the number of possible answer choices which increases the chance of you choosing the correct answer.


Mistake #5: Retake the ACT without studying in the hopes of achieving a higher score

A Better Approach: Plan and prepare with a tutor/teacher to increase your score to the target number necessary to receive the best tuition package.

Why this Works: Create a plan and be accountable to that plan with a tutor/teacher which will increase your chance of success.


Dr. Kelly Finn is a professional test taker and experienced college mathematics teacher. She is passionate about helping people increase their ACT test score and pursue their professional dream of college. Dr. Finn has prepared 100’s of students for the ACT and offers private tutoring sessions via Skype and in-person. She is a first generation college student and can help you be admitted to college and pay the least amount of tuition. Contact [email protected] or visit her Facebook page.

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