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Thomas Broderick

How to Simulate ACT Test Day

With virtual reality all the rage these days, it only makes sense that you’d try to simulate the ACT, too. Fortunately, you won’t need an uber-expensive headset or other fancy equipment to simulate ACT test day.


How to Simulate ACT Test Day -magoosh


If you’re ready to learn how to create the ultimate practice test, let’s get started!


The Setting

Where you take the test can be just about anywhere, as long as it meets these requirements.

  • A place where you won’t be disturbed for at least three hours.
  • Distraction free.

A few options that come to mind are your home’s basement or the local library. Just make sure there’s enough light, a nearby clock, and a comfortable temperature.

As for the chair, make sure it’s not too comfortable. You’ll be sitting at a school desk during the ACT, and as you know, those things aren’t built for comfort.


Time of Day

Just like on the actual test day, take your practice test on a Saturday morning. Be ready to test at 8AM, and start no later than 9AM. For breakfast, eat what you’ll have on the morning of the real ACT. Even if you’re not leaving your house, take a shower and get dressed, too.


The Test

First, the obvious: the practice test should be completely new to you. No recycled questions/sections from previous practice tests, please. Also, use a practice answer sheet modeled after the real thing.

Don’t forget to give yourself a ten-minute break, either. During this time, though, don’t do anything that’s not allowed at the test site. That means no electronic devices.


The Accessories

Make sure you have a few sharp #2 pencils. Scratch paper, too. Don’t forget to bring a cheap digital watch. Calculator have fresh batteries? Good.

The last accessory I’d recommend is totally optional: another person to act as your proctor. Now this may seem a little extreme, but during the actual ACT a proctor will be watching you for three hours. That can cause stress in some people, so having someone to read the directions to you and sit a few feet away is good practice.

Ask a parent, sibling, or really patient friend to proctor the test. If they need a little encouragement, promise to buy them lunch afterwards. After all, you’ll pay at least $39 to take the real ACT. You might as well simulate the cost, too. 🙂

That’s all for now, ACT Scholars. Best of luck in your simulations, and good luck on test day!


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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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