ACT Test Help: What to Do When You Get Stuck

A lot of you may be putting in some serious time getting ready to take or retake the ACT. With school and high school applications, you have a lot on your plate as it is without running into roadblocks on the ACT. If you need some ACT test help for getting unstuck, you’ve come to the right place.

What should you do when you get stuck while taking 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. In this post, I’ll let you in on a few ACT 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

To learn what to do when you get stuck, you first have to understand what being stuck is. Being stuck isn’t looking at a question with dread. It’s not the feeling that you answered a question wrong, either. Instead, being stuck on a test is when you struggle to answer a question within the time 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, no matter 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 doing this, and you’ll up your odds of getting the question right if you can eliminate one or more answers before doing so. 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 about that question leave you second-guessing yourself, competing for attention as you tackle the next problem. If you let the answers you’ve guessed 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 this is to experience them on practice tests. Everyone has more or one stuck moments on the ACT. They don’t mean you’re doomed; 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.


  • 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.

By the way, Magoosh can help you study for both the SAT and ACT exams. Click here to learn more!

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