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7 of the best ways to improve your ACT score


Author: Lawrence, Cody

Tags: ACT, Tutoring

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Since the last ACT test of the school year just wrapped up, a lot of students are taking a well-deserved break from ACT for the summer. In the next couple weeks, the scores should be coming in and most students are going to be able to do much better on the test with a little guidance. Why not spend just a little time over the summer thinking about raising that score for the next test? Many students go in to the ACT blind and end up scoring lower than they'd like or lower than they need. Here are seven awesome ways to increase your ACT Score.

Answer every question

Answer EVERY question. That’s right. I see a lot of confusion about how the ACT is graded. The more correct answers you get, the higher your score is. While skipping a question doesn’t deduct points from your total, wrong answers don’t count against you either, so even if you don’t have the time to finish a section, fill in the rest of those bubbles! Since your score isn’t impacted by wrong answers, it’s completely okay to guess when you run out of time.

Make educated guesses

When guessing, of course it’s better to get those guessed answers correct. But how do you do that? Make an educated guess. Eliminate those answers that are probably incorrect then guess from the remaining ones if you have no idea how to proceed. Making an educated guess is always more effective than random guessing. Some sources say that you should pick the same answer for every problem you guess on. Because the questions are totally random, you would therefore have a 20-25% chance to get those questions correct. But those aren’t very good odds. The only time you should ever even consider doing this when you have no other options and you’re completely stuck on a problem. For most people, though, being so befuddled doesn’t happen all that often. Even if you don’t know what to do with a problem, check out the answers and see which ones make less sense. If you can cross out one or two of the less-reasonable answers first, there’s a much higher chance you’ll get the answer correct.

Be aware of the time

Hopefully, you’ll know the material well enough to never have to be stuck on a problem. But time is a huge issue that most students I see have problems with. There are many strategies on how to improve speed with each section of the ACT. But a piece of advice that applies to the test as a whole is to first be aware of how much time you have for each section – which is written at the top of the test booklet. Secondly, once you know how much time you have, take a look at the clock and know how much time you have left. That way you can pace yourself. Know approximately how much time you spend on questions and be aware of spots where you can afford to read and work out problems a bit more quickly, and where to slow down and really focus.

Don’t be afraid to skip questions and come back to them later

If a problem is really difficult, skip it and come back to it later. It’s better to answer the easier questions and get those free points than to be in a time crunch and have to guess on those easy questions later. How you skip questions though should depend on the subject. In the math section, it’s okay to skip a problem until the very end since the problems are random. In the English, reading, and science sections, the questions are grouped by article, excerpt, or graph. It’s okay to skip a problem in these situations, but don’t save that skipped problem until the end of the test. Spend your time on it at the end of that grouping of questions so you don’t have to find yourself rereading a whole article at the end of the test just to answer that one problem you skipped.

Don’t go back and forth so much

One thing that really slows students down is skimming the reading, then answering each question while trying to review the article. When you have an article to read, read the whole thing and get a good understanding of it. Then answer the questions with context. It’ll be much easier to find the answer in the article that way if you do actually find yourself needing to look back, saving a load of time.

Practice, practice, practice!

Find local practice tests and take them! Schools sometimes offer them. Check out local libraries too. We at College Tutors offer free practice tests as well. The more exposure you have to the test, the better you’re likely to do. Try to take the test somewhere that will give you your results quickly so you’ll know what you need extra help with.


Tutoring by far is the most effective way to make your score skyrocket. But not all ACT tutoring is created equal. There are lots of ACT prep programs at schools and other places that place students into a group environment and give them a practice test while maybe also talking about some basic strategies. Of course the more practice you get, the more familiar you’ll be with the test and the better your score is likely to be so those kinds of test prep sessions can be helpful. But nothing beats a one-on-one environment where an expert tutor can focus on everything you have trouble with and help with not only improving in the material, but developing strategies for the test to help you improve. With one-on-one tutoring, the tutor can have a chance to get to know the student and recognize and work on specific things that need to be worked on.

Without the stress of school, summer is an awesome time to start studying or seeking tutoring for the ACT. Consider checking out our tutoring services! We help improve students' grades and ACT scores year around with one-on-one tutoring customized for each student.

Good luck on the next ACT!