Taking a Practice Test
Taking a Practice Test
Through the example of Miss Molly Bloom, we’ve shown you why studying practice tests is an extremely powerful tool. Now we’re going to explain how you should take practice tests in order to put that tool to best use.
Controlling Your Environment
Although no one but you needs to see your practice test scores, you should do everything in your power to make the practice test feel like the real ACT. The closer your practice resembles the real thing, the more helpful it will be. When taking a practice test, follow these rules:
Take the tests timed.
Don’t give yourself any extra time. Be stricter with yourself than the meanest proctor you can think of. Also, don’t give yourself time off for bathroom breaks. If you have to go to the bathroom, let the clock keep running; that’s what’ll happen on the real ACT.
Take the test in a single sitting.
Training yourself to endure the full duration of the test should be part of your preparation.
Find a place to take the test that offers no distractions.
Don’t take the practice test in a room with lots of people walking through it. Go to a library, your bedroom, a well-lit closet—anywhere quiet.
Now, having stated the rules of practice test taking, we can relax a little bit: don’t be so strict with yourself that studying and taking practice tests become unbearable. The most important thing is that you actually study. Do whatever you have to do in order to make your studying interesting and painless enough that you actually do it. Set specific goals for your studying, and reward yourself when you achieve them.
One way to help yourself actually take practice tests may be to take individual Subject Tests rather than the entire ACT. Yes, we just advised you to take the entire test in one sitting. And we stand by that advice. But if you don’t have three free hours to throw around, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take practice tests. Since the ACT is conveniently broken up into four sections that test different subjects, you can always take a single practice Subject Test in an hour or less.
Ultimately, if you can follow all of the rules listed above to the letter, you will be better off. But, if following those rules makes studying excruciating, find little ways to bend them that won’t interfere too much with your concentration.
Practice Test Strategy
You should take each practice test as if it were the real ACT. Don’t be more daring than you would be on the actual test, guessing blindly even when you could first eliminate an answer. Don’t carelessly speed through the test. Don’t flip through this book while taking the practice exam just to sneak a peek. Follow the rules for guessing and for skipping questions that we outlined in the chapters on strategy. The more closely your attitude and strategies during the practice test reflect those you’ll employ during the actual test, the more predictive the practice test will be of your strengths and weaknesses and the more fruitful your studying.
Help | Feedback | Make a request | Report an error