ACT Tips and Strategies

Taking the ACT can be stressful. The tips listed below will help you when taking the test. Be sure to explore taking an ACT prep class. The right class can help increase your score.


  1. Learn the section directions now. Use the time saved during the test to work on questions.
  2. Answer easy questions first. Mark skipped questions in your exam book so you can quickly return to them later.
  3. Guess…if you can eliminate at least one choice.
  4. You can write in the test book: cross out wrong answers; do scratch work.
  5. Avoid stray marks on the answer sheet. A machine scores your test and can’t distinguish between a correct answer and a careless doodle.
  6. Easy questions usually precede hard ones.
  7. Mark only one answer per question.
  8. Skip any question if you haven’t the faintest idea about the answer. You don’t lose points.
  9. Understand the scoring! You get a point for a right answer. There is no deduction for omitted answers or for wrong answers. However, filling in each question with even a guess is better than leaving the answer grid blank.
  10. Keep checking that you are placing your answer in the correct section and number on the answer sheet.
  11. Don’t spend too much time on any one question. You should spend only seconds on the easiest questions, and hesitate to spend more than 1-2 minutes on even the hardest ones.
  12. Practice, practice, practice!
  13. Remember that the ACT consists of a series of small, timed, mini-tests. Keep track of the time you’re allotted for each one and how much time remains.
  14. Bring a watch to the test center. You can’t be guaranteed that there’ll be a working clock there.
  15. Don’t change an answer unless you’re sure you made an error.
  16. Read the words in the question carefully. Be sure to answer the question asked and not the question you recall from a practice test.
  17. Know the Question Types to Expect on the ACT * 19 analogies * 19 sentence completion * 40 reading comprehension * 35 math multiple-choices * 15 quantitative comparisons * 10 student-produced responses.

Information from