Last Minute ACT Tips

Last Minute ACT Tips

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The ACT is just days away. Like hundreds of thousands of students around the country, you may be getting jitters. That’s normal! You’re probably looking forward to a well-deserved break from studying, too. All in good time. These last few days are an important time, and there are a few commonsense things you can do to improve your test experience and score. Let’s take a look at some last minute ACT tips to help you do your best on the exam!

Now’s the time for a big push to get you to your goal. Let’s get started!


Focus on Your Weaknesses

At this point, you’ve (hopefully) taken plenty of practice tests and reviewed the various ACT topics. In the last few days, focus solely on your weaknesses, whether it be a whole test (section) of the ACT, or just a few topics. By using your time wisely, you’re sure to do better in these areas on test day.

It’s a delicate balance, though: don’t try to cram in tons of new concepts at this stage. Instead, just review those that you’re rusty on, or areas where you may have been scoring low on your practice exams.


One Final Practice Test

When you’ve finished studying, take one last time practice test about two days before test day. The results will give you a heads-up on what to expect for your ACT score, from the reading section (speaking of, check out this Moana-themed ACT reading guide) to science (oh and this Batman-themed ACT science guide) and everything in between. Not only will you go into the ACT feeling confident, you will be able to compare your ACT score with this result to determine if your performance was off on test day.

As for the day before test day, don’t study or prepare. Don’t. Your brain needs a little time to decompress and relax. Get out there and do something enjoyable.


Follow Your Routines

Nothing can hurt your ACT score more than feeling off on test day. To make sure that you’re prepared both mentally and physically, keep your routine the night before and morning of the ACT. That means no going to bed extra early or extra late, no chugging energy drinks on the way to the testing center. Just do…well, whatever it is you normally do!


Visualize Success

Whether it’s going to the doctor or flying on an airplane, there are certain triggers that cause our stress level to skyrocket. For those of you who get sweaty palms and a racing heartbeat even at the thought of the testing room, there are a few things you can do to calm your reaction to that trigger.

Even before you start to feel anxiety, imagine that the test is over. (This is handy to keep in mind during the oh-so-short English portion of the ACT as well.) You’re walking out of the testing room, and feeling good about how you performed. Though the actual ACT might throw you an unexpected curveball or two, a positive frame of mind can stop all that energy-sucking anxiety that plagues many test takers.


Final Thoughts

Just like when any big event is just around the corner, it’s natural to feel like you’re forgetting something in the days leading up to the ACT. Just don’t forget your admission ticket, and you’ll be fine!


Thomas Broderick spent four years teaching high school English, social studies, and ACT preparation in Middle Tennessee. Now living in Northern California, he is excited to share his knowledge and experience with Magoosh's readers. In his spare time Thomas enjoys writing short fiction and hiking in the Sonoma foothills.

This post originally appeared on the Magoosh ACT blog.