One of the common ACT-related questions faced by ACT tutoring experts is about the difficulty of the ACT. If you find yourself pondering over the same, you are not alone. Even without a guessing penalty, popular academic culture revolves around de-mystifying the ACT.
But is the ACT that hard? Are there other alternatives to this test? How difficult is it when compared to the SAT? At Miles Smart Tutoring, our ACT prep tutors and experts believe that the answers to these questions would differ with each student. However, we also practice the belief that with enough preparation and dedicated planning, a competitive exam like the ACT can be grabbed by the horns and tamed. Read on to find out our observations and tutoring principles that could make the ACT a more organized experience.
Assessing the difficulty
A few shared experiences that are often termed as ‘stressful’ among students help ACT tutoring experts improve performance. Some of these concerns are listed below.
Time management issue
The ACT is quite famous for its strict timeframes that are to be followed in each section. The English section permits 45 minutes for 75 questions, thereby expecting the student to solve each question within 36 seconds. The ACT Math section comprises 60 questions to be completed within about 60 minutes. The Reading and Science sections give students around 52 seconds to solve each question. Time management is to be considered while practicing questions and frequently tested topics. Even a few tricky questions can pose a risk in managing these time frames.
This can prove stressful for students who have been exposed to last-minute preparation schedules and revision practices. Only those who have started considerably earlier and have given paramount importance to time management skills may find this an easy endeavor.
Long Reading Time
Another aspect of the ACT is that there are long passages that can take up a chunk of your time. Apart from the Math section, each section requires a quick reading pace to help in answering or solving the questions.
Reading strategies would come in handy while trying to avoid situations where you leave questions unattended. Even the Science section often consists of questions that require your reasoning abilities which depend on long passages. Time management again takes up precedence here while planning your study.
Dealing with concepts that you might not have seen before
The ACT’s math section often tests topics that might not have been part of your school curriculum. Many students have faced difficulty in solving such questions, which affects their confidence. Unlike the SAT, students are not provided with formulas to be used during the test. Only the most unclear questions may be provided with a formula to aid in solving.
At Miles Smart Tutoring, we recommend memorizing useful formulas and practicing questions that test your mathematical aptitude to avoid any hiccups during the test. Recollecting formulas and dealing with math problems not from the high school curriculum are a few reasons that can make the ACT seem like a difficult task.
How to make the ACT preparation easier
Strengthening your performance on Multiple Choice Questions
The optional essay is the only part of the ACT that requires writing. Every other section uses the multiple-choice questioning format. Pacing your answers is one of the best skills to work on before appearing for the final test.
One of the preparation plans that your ACT prep tutor will work on is dealing with multiple choice questions and the art of eliminating the wrong answers. Once your time management skills are sharpened, the confidence to answer and solve these questions becomes a reflexive action.
Decoding the Science Section
Many students face difficulty in acing the Science section. The questions are mainly based on Data Interpretation and Reading Comprehension formats. These questions focus on interpretable charts and graphs, among other logical tests. The basic logic is tested through reasoning.
The ACT tutoring course is carefully designed by keeping these testing methods in mind. Logical reasoning skills are acquired through a thorough revision of high school subjects and multiple practice tests. Knowing the passage types and structures of these questions is a starting point for students by underlining important keywords or circling sentences that are important for research summary-related questions. These come in handy, particularly in questions that revolve around conflicting viewpoints where the student is expected to solve despite the multiple theories.
Improving on competitive exam tricks
The ACT does not cut marks for the wrong answers. This should be a confidence instilling thought for students who are easily demotivated during tests when faced with tricky questions. Incorrect answers are counted as 0 marks or points.
When trying to solve questions that might prove difficult, skimming passages and option-elimination processes can help to mark an answer. Always depend on the questions that seem easier to solve before heading back to the questions that could pose a weakness. The absence of negative marking can be a blessing but trying all possible strategies when you have sufficient time is equivalent to doing everything you can before leaving a blank answer.
The ACT’s preparation calls for effective mentorship and an equally dedicated mind. Performance improvement depends on the amount of time spent on up skilling your pace and reasoning abilities. Academic tests could be difficult experiences, but implementing well-planned learning strategies and practicing essential skills can help in blowing the wind in your favor.