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Thomas Broderick

ACT Test Help: What to Do When You Get Stuck

Hello again Magoosh readers! With summer almost here, it means that a lot of you will be putting in some serious time getting ready to take or retake the ACT. You have a lot on your plate as it is, so in today’s article I’m going to give you some of my patented ACT test help.

Today’s topic: what to do when you get stuck on the ACT. It’s a scary thought, I know. With so little time, being stuck drains valuable seconds away from answering other questions. The tension builds, and it might feel that your mind is overflowing from stress. If you ‘stick’ with me over the next few paragraphs, I’ll let you in on a few tricks to get out of these ‘sticky’ situations. 😉


ACT Test Help: What to Do When You Get Stuck -Magoosh

Photo by Jason Santa Maria


Getting Stuck

If you’re going to learn what to do when you get stuck, you first have to understand what being stuck is. Being stuck isn’t the sense of creeping dread you have over a question, or feeling like you answered a question wrong. On the ACT, being stuck is not answering a question within the number of seconds the test allots for that question. For example, the ACT gives you 60 seconds for each Math question. If you’re still pondering the answer at 61 seconds, you’re stuck despite how you might feel about it.

Getting Unstuck

The first way is the most obvious and often used by students: guess and move on. There’s no shame in it, and I freely admit that as a student I did the same thing on the ACT. But guessing is only half the battle. When you ‘move on,’ you really need to move on, both to the next question and mentally. Don’t let the anxiety or second guessing about that question vie for attention as you tackle the next problem. If you let the questions where you guess get to you, you’re likely to take longer than you need with other questions, or worse, miss more questions.

Here’s another piece of ACT test help: the best way to get out of sticky situations like these is to experience them on practice tests. Everyone has more or one stuck moments on the ACT. They don’t mean doom; they’re a natural part of the standardized testing experience. If you go into the test with this mindset, sticky moments will have less of an impact on your score.

Final Thoughts

Be sure to stay tuned for more ACT test help, Magoosh readers. And remember, you may be busy this summer getting ready for the ACT, but don’t forget that it is summer vacation. Get out there and have a little fun between study sessions!



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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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