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Thomas Broderick

ACT Test Secrets

There’s a lot to know for the ACT. At the very least you need to understand a little bit about English, Math, Reading, and Science to do well enough to get into your dream school or win a scholarship. That being said, success relies more on just content knowledge. There’s also a few ACT test secrets that can up your odds of test success.


ACT Test Secrets -Magoosh


First of all, these ‘secrets’ aren’t really secret. There’s no set of cheat codes for the ACT, and if there were, the good folks at ACT (and more importantly I) would be out of a job if I revealed them here. These ACT Test Secrets are the little things you can do to become better prepared on test day, strategies you don’t discover by doing content review or practice tests.

Achieve Harmony Between Mind and Body

You think the space below your brain doesn’t count on ACT test day? Wrong! Being tired, hungry, sore, or a plethora of other things can trip you up in ways you may not fully understand.

Having been a former teenager myself, I understand that teens’ diet and sleep schedules aren’t necessarily ideal. It’s going to take a little practice, but starting a week before the test, give yourself a full night’s sleep every night. As far as food goes, avoid anything that has not agreed with you in the past. I wouldn’t go so far as to detox all the processed foods out of your system, but avoiding added sugar (juices, sodas, anything from a high school vending machine) will go a long way to promote a better state of mind for test day. Also, as I’ve said before, eat a high protein breakfast the morning of the test.


ACT Test Secrets -Magoosh

Sugar is the enemy.


One last thing before we move on: if you are genuinely sick on ACT test day, don’t go. I know it seems like a waste of money and study time, but trying to take a 3+ hour test will only make you sicker. Also, you might give your cold/flu/whatever to everyone else the test room.

Confidence is Key

Just like interviewing for a job or going on a first date, confidence plays a large role in success on ACT test day. The belief you will succeed turns off those little voices of doubt that vie for your energy and attention, two things you definitely need on ACT test day.

How do you build confidence? First, in preparing for the ACT, create and complete an ACT Study Schedule. A study schedule will not only make you more prepared, but you will feel prepared.


ACT Test Secrets -Magoosh


Another ACT test secret you can do is give yourself a mental boost as you go into the test room. Look around at the other test takers and imagine that you are the smartest person in the room, and that your performance on the ACT will blow everyone else’s score out of the water. Though that might sound cocky, it will help students who feel nervous testing in a room full of strangers.

Final Thoughts

That’s all the ACT test secrets for today, Magoosh readers. There’s more out there, and I challenge you to find a few of your own as you prepare to take the ACT. Till next time!

About Thomas Broderick

Thomas 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.

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