Helpful Advice for the Upcoming ACT

Helpful Advice for the Upcoming ACT

By Sue Luse

If you are planning on taking the April ACT, sign up ASAP, because this test date does fill up.

For those of you taking the ACT on Saturday, here is some helpful advice and information.


Gather up everything you are going to need for Saturday morning. This includes two #2 pencils, a calculator with fresh batteries, a Power Bar type snack, water, your Registration Ticket, and a picture ID (driver's license or school picture ID). Place all of these items together tonight so the whole family isn't trying to find one or more of them Saturday morning.

Write down directions on how to get to the testing center or even drive there ahead of time if you are not sure.
Go to bed at a reasonable time. 7:00PM is not reasonable; nor is midnight. Keep your regular weekday bedtime hours, not Friday/Saturday night will hours, and you have the amount of rest needed.

Set two alarms — one in your room and one in someone else's room.


Eat breakfast. You're going to be there for at least four hours and you're going to get hungry.

Allow plenty of time to get to the testing center. Instead of saying, “I can get to my test center in ten minutes,” think, “If something happens — a train, traffic, an accident — I will probably need at least twenty minutes to get to my test center.”

Arrive at the testing center no later than 8:00AM.


Work only on the section you are supposed to be working on. You will be watched closely. Do your own work and do not disturb anyone else. You would not be the first student dismissed from the testing center, and the decision of the proctor is final.

Remember your goal, your particular strategies, and your specific plan.

Pace yourself. This is a long test.

Use all of your time. Others around you will be closing up their test books and putting their heads down on their desks. You will be going to back to look at problems you really weren't quite sure about the first time or to work on problems you skipped, leaving them to do if you had time left. USE ALL OF YOUR TIME!!

Stay positive and stay focused. If you start just going through the motions of filling in bubbles without working through the problems, you're doomed to fall short of your goal. Keep “working the problems,” not “answering the questions.”

Enjoy! I know this sounds really silly, but I mean it. This is a moment that you have studied and trained and anticipated for many years. Seize the moment. If you don't, the moment could seize you. That, too, can keep you from achieving your goal.

Leave knowing not that you “nailed it” or “blew it” but that you did your best. You left everything you had in that testing room; let the results be what they may be. If you are able to leave the testing center with this frame of mind, then you have nothing to worry about.


Report to your assigned test center by the time (usually 8:00 a.m.) listed on your admission ticket. (You will not need to have an admission ticket if you are trying to test standby.) Be sure you know how to get to your test center. You will not be admitted if you are late.

Have acceptable identification with you. You will not be admitted without it. A test center supervisor will check your ID and admission ticket, admit you to the test center, direct you to a seat, and provide test materials. Testing normally begins only after all examinees present at 8:00 a.m. are checked in.

Do not engage in any prohibited behaviors at the test center or you will be dismissed and your test will not be scored.

During the test, testing supervisors will check your calculator to ensure that it is a permitted type, you use it only during the Mathematics Test, you use your backup calculator only if your primary calculator fails, you do not share your calculator with others, and that you do not store test materials in your calculator's memory. If your calculator has characters one inch high or larger, or a raised display, testing staff may seat you where no other test taker can see your calculator.

A break is scheduled after the first two portions of the tests. (If you take the Writing Test, you will be allowed another brief break after the last multiple-choice test to relax and sharpen your pencils.) Students testing with standard time are normally dismissed at about 12:15 p.m. (or at about1:00 p.m. for those taking the Writing Test).

If you do not complete the test for any reason, tell your test supervisor or proctor before you leave the test center whether or not your test should be scored.

Best of luck to you on test day!

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