Posts Tagged ‘ACT exam’

Should I Retake the ACT/SAT Standardized Test?

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

Sat ExamMost colleges will require some form of standardized testing, but the two most common are the ACT and SAT tests. In short, it really is impossible to say whether your particular scenario requires you to retake the test or to move on and work on other parts of your application. However, there are indicators to look for when deciding if another few months of test stress are really what you need.

Use Your Practice Scores as a Baseline

The simplest way to ascertain whether or not retaking is wise is to compare your actual score with predicted scores. If you scored a 29 on the day but previous practices put you in the 33-34 range, you may have had an off – day and retaking would most likely boost your score. If you scored a 32 and have generally been scoring 33’s, it may not be the best use of time to study for the test all over again. (more…)

The Three Most Important Actions for a Second-Semester High School Junior

Thursday, February 20th, 2014


1. Take an official standardized test.  I mean, either the SAT or the ACT.
2. Apply to at least one scholarship.
3. Attend a summer conference/program/internship or get a summer job.

That’s it.  If you’re a high school junior in your second semester there are probably lots of other things for you to worry about like grades, athletics, your AP exams, etc. but make sure to DO these three things.

You can daydream and putz about college campuses all you want.  That can even be good; I’m not knocking it.  But I’m not giving you a list of things to think about; I’m giving you actionable items.  Frankly, who cares how you do them?  Just do them. (more…)

Guessing on the ACT

Saturday, March 3rd, 2012

When should I guess on an ACT question?  What do I do when I am stuck on a question?

ACT exam

ACT exam

The ACT exam presents a large challenge to any student, no matter how competent or accomplished in the classroom they might be.  Although not quite the same length as the SAT, the ACT exam still takes over 3 hours at the minimum and features hundreds of questions.  The ACT tests you on Trigonometry, Grammar, Rhetoric, Scientific Reasoning, Vocabulary, and Literary Interpretation among other topics.  Needless to say, you won’t know the answer to every ACT question.

The question then becomes, what do you do when you encounter a question on the ACT exam that you can’t answer.  The ACT is scored by granting a point for each correct answer and by granting no points for each omitted OR incorrect answer choice.  This means that it is always worth guessing on the ACT exam because there is effectively no difference between a wrong answer and an omission.

This is certainly an advantage that the ACT has over the SAT, but it’s one that should be used wisely.  You still need a guessing strategy on the ACT.  Most ACT questions feature five answer choices, either “A” through “E”, or “F” through “K”. The answers to the questions are customarily distributed evenly over all the answer choices.  So in the case where you are really making a blind guess, always choose the same letter. In fact, it’s a good idea to designate that letter before you even walk into the ACT exam so you don’t have to spend valuable time thinking about which letter to choose.  By always choosing, say A and F, you are guaranteeing that you will get twenty percent of your blind guesses correct on the ACT exam.