How to Survive the ACT

Prior to the beginning of Summer break, I took the ACT test at my high school for the very first time. I was anxious, paranoid, and apprehensive about what I would find on the test and what my score would be.  Besides, I forgot everything I had learned during the school year.

When I arrived at the test, my hands were sweaty and my head was pounding. What if I got a really low score?

After the test began and I got into a steady rhythm of filling in bubbles, I realized that the test wasn’t as scary as I thought it was. In fact, it seemed pretty easy. I left the test feeling pretty good about the exam and confident that I wasn’t a complete moron.



Taking the ACT can be scary, especially if it’s your first time. Here are a few tips that can help you ace the test without having a heart attack.

First, breathe.

You can’t do anything without sucking in some oxygen. Just calm down, relax, and do your best.

Next, timing is everything.

The ACT is a timed exam, which is why it is very important that you keep an eye on the clock. Make sure you know when the start and end times are of the different sections.

Don’t take forever on a problem.

The test will push you mentally, so it is totally likely that you will run into a problem that will leave you befuddled. Remember that you have a lot more problems to tackle than just that one, so sometimes you need to give it your best guess. It is better that you skip a few hard questions instead of not having time to answer ones that you know.

Keep your distractions limited.

Put your hair up, leave your bracelets home, and don’t you dare create ways to distract yourself on the test. Your mind needs to be completely focused, and twiddling your thumbs won’t help.

Walk it off.

You will get a 10-minute break during the test, and I’m telling you from the bottom of my heart, walk it off. Stretch your cramped legs and get that blood pumping. It will help you make it through the rest of the exam.

Competition is NOT everything.

Imagine that you’re reading a long, boring passage in the reading section and in the corner of your eye you see your neighbor already turning the page. Do not speed up, do not rush through problems, just look away and read the freaking passage.

Last, have confidence in yourself.

Believe that you can do it. Believe that you will get a high score on that ACT. You can totally do it, just focus and smile. You’ll do great.


I hope these tips help you survive your ACT. It really isn’t that scary once you do it (It’s just long).

Good luck.

-Charlotte Emelia

Published by Charlotte Emelia


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