How do I get a good score on the ACT or SAT test?

1. Get to know the ACT and SAT: The American College Test and the Scholastic Aptitude Test are both widely accepted at colleges and institutions nationwide. Find out which test is required for your program of interest. A great place to start is meeting with your high school counselor to discuss your academic career. Your counselor will have information on the ACT and SAT, decide which one you should take and register for the test. Your counselor will most likely have information on resources for test preparation such as study guides, study groups, and helpful websites. Explore the ACT and SAT websites to learn more about the test, download a free practice test and find links to the question of the day at actstudent.org/for the ACT and at sat.collegeboard.org/home for the SAT.

2. Take a Practice Test.
For your first practice test, take it under exam-like conditions, timed and without distractions. From this you can determine your strengths and weaknesses and focus on those areas you need to improve on, but don't undermine your strengths.

3. Time Management.
A great tip that has helped successful people is time management. Writing out a study plan in your planner, including your test date(s), hours to study each week and which weekends to take a practice test. Some students take the test twice, in the spring of junior year and the fall of senior year, this is totally up to you.
*Take practice tests in the morning on weekends during the same time the actual test will be.

4. Read a book! A great tip is to read a book, newspaper, or magazine to build vocabulary. Keep a dictionary close by and look up those words you do not know. Make flash cards of SAT and ACT vocabulary words and take them with you wherever you go.

5. Practice writing short essays. The writing section requires an organized response to an issue, clear presentation of your opinion and counterarguments, and your creativity to use examples or personal experiences. Learn to use your time effectively. Take 5 minutes or so to jot down your ideas and examples you want to incorporate, write an outline, then use the rest of the time to write your essay while leaving a couple minutes at the end to edit your essay for grammar and spelling. Most importantly, answer the question and have clear support and logic for your argument.

6. Learn the sections. Become familiar with directions given so you don't have to spend so much time reading the directions on test day. Taking as many practice tests is key here, and reviewing incorrect answers.
*There is no penalty for guessing on the ACT, but there is on the SAT.
*Do not hesitate to underline and circle words in your test booklet.
*Practice using your calculator.

7. Practice, practice, practice! Getting into a study routine is really important to build the physical and mental stamina you need for test day. Your test will be just under 4 hours! Take a timed practice test on the weekends. And of course, eating well, making time for exercise and getting plenty of rest will help you in the long run. As for the day before test day, remind yourself you have come a long way and that you are ready! Do a short review the day before but don't overdo it, you want to relax. The morning of test day, do a couple of exercises in a practice test or read a couple of pages in a book so that your brain is warmed up and your exam is not the first material your brain sees. Best of luck with your studies, have confidence in your abilities!