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Thomas Broderick

ACT Test Secrets

There’s a lot to know for the ACT. English, Math, Reading, and Science…but of course, succeeding on the ACT requires more than just content knowledge. There are also a few ACT test secrets that can up your odds of test success.

What do I mean by “test secrets?” These ACT test secrets are a few small things you can do to boost your scores on test day. They’re strategies you won’t discover just by doing content review or practice tests. While those are vital to success, so are a few physical and mental aspects of test-taking that you have control over.

Go In Strong!

You probably know that being healthy—eating well, exercising, getting enough sleep—is generally a good idea. Well, it’s indispensable on test day! You think the space below your brain doesn’t count during the official exam? Wrong! Being tired, hungry, sore, annoyed, or anxious can trip you up in lots of ways.

Now, your diet and sleep schedule may not necessarily be 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. Cutting down on 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, eat a high protein breakfast the morning of the test. Why? It’ll keep your energy up throughout the exam, without leading to the mood swings that you’ll get with a sugar crash.

An important caveat here: 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

Photo  by Hyper Anon Wikia


Finally, give yourself a mental boost as you go into the test room. Think about all the time and effort you’ve put into preparation. Next, visualize yourself looking up your score report and seeing your dream score appear. It’s a little cheesy, but visualization can help you achieve your goals while putting you in a mental space.

Oh, and one last thing—don’t forget to breathe!

Good luck, test takers! Keep your mind sharp and your body healthy, and the scores will follow.

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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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