How to Prepare for the ACT

Liberty students share how they prepared for the ACT test

As the year progresses, many students are signing up for or taking their ACT’s. The ACT is a standardized test used for college admissions in the US. The test covers four main subjects such as English, math, reading, and science. As students are signing up to take the ACT, many do not know how to prepare for the test. 

Junior Tatum Calderwood shares how she prepared to take the test for the first time.

“I didn’t prepare a whole lot as it was my first time taking it, and I wanted to get a base level score. All I did was take the practice test on the ACT website the week leading up to the test,” she explained.

Jennifer Ho, junior, has not taken the ACT yet but is currently preparing for the test.

“I’m preparing by doing a lot of flashcards and online practice problems. I’m also taking multiple practice tests in order to get used to the testing environment and making sure I finish without running out of time,” she explained.

Calderwood and Ho both recommended some study tips to help feel more confident leading up to the test.

“Plan your time out. Time will go by without you realizing it. Focus on subjects that you are struggling a lot in and keep practicing,” said Ho.

“I think that taking the practice test on the website is really helpful because it helps you gain an understanding of what the questions look like and how much time you’ll have for each one,” explained Calderwood.

I think that taking the practice test on the website is really helpful because it helps you gain an understanding of what the questions look like and how much time you’ll have for each one.”

— Tatum Calderwood

Counselor Jennifer Naughton also recommended some useful study strategies.

“It is important for students to know what study strategies work for them. Some students are more visual learners and using flash cards will be helpful. Some students are auditory learners and benefit from reading aloud when studying, or using mnemonics, and rhymes to improve memory,” Naughton described. “Knowing what works for you can enhance your studying time. Also, knowing your strengths and weaknesses [can help you study]. If you struggle in a specific content area that you will be tested on, plan to prep in this area a little more so you feel prepared and confident.

“There are many ACT specific test websites available to students to get acquainted with the test,” she continued. “If you go to the Liberty Counseling Website: Assessment Tabs and click on ACT, you will see several of our test prep website favorites. And the best part, they are free!”

Each section’s question material differs from the others. Calderwood provides insight on test sections she thinks needs additional study time.

“I think that the science section is definitely one that you need to be familiar with the style of the questions. It isn’t necessarily based on prior scientific knowledge but rather how good you are at reading tables and graphs. Also, the math section is a little complicated so you’ll want to take time to prepare for that beforehand,” she said.

Taking the ACT can definitely be nerve-wracking. Naughton shared her advice to upcoming test takers.

“First, take a deep breath; you will get through this test just fine! The more you prepare for the test, the better you are going to feel walking in on exam day,” she advised. “If you are an athlete or musician, then you know when you practice to the best of your ability before the big game, performance, or competition you are going to feel more confident. Same thing applies with test taking. Also, remember this is the first time taking the ACT, you can always take it again if you aren’t happy with your results.”

Taking the ACT test is the next step of preparing to go to college. Thinking about and taking the test can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. Even if the test doesn’t go as planned, there’s always the opportunity to retake it and improve.