ACT Practice TestsWhat They Can and Can’t DoBy Laura Staffaroniwww.PrepScholar.com
TABLE OF CONTENTS:Intro.31: What Practice Tests Do Well.42: What Practice Tests Don’t Do.73: And Now What?.10Copyright detotheoriginal.
INTROACT Practice TestsACT practice tests are invaluable for any level of ACTpreparation, from those just beginning their study to thosewho have studied for months already.There are limits, however, to what ACT practice testscan do.Read on to find out what things ACT practice tests aregood for and what they just can’t accomplish!3
1: What Practice Tests Do WellPoint: Taking realistic practice tests reveals Keyyour strengths and weaknesses and helps build testmuscle memory.Going through ACT practice tests can help your studyingin myriad ways. For one thing, taking practice ACTs orientsyou towards the test. If you get too caught up in doingpractice problem sets, you can forget what your ultimate goalis: doing well on the ACT when you sit down and take it ontest day, not just acing problems in isolation.Making it through the full test length (three to fourhours, depending on whether or not you take the ACT withWriting) requires stamina as well as knowledge, and part4
1: What Practice Tests Do Wellof being prepared is making sure that you’re strong in boththose arenas.The Importance of Taking Realistic Practice TestsBy taking practice tests in the morning and all atonce (just like the real ACT), you’ll be able toreview mistakes that wouldn’t show up if you werejust doing practice sets in the afternoon orevening. This is why, at the very beginning ofyour studying, you should sit down and take arealistic ACT practice test all the way through.It’s also imperative that you have high accuracyquestions that are representative of what you'llsee on test day, and there's no better source ofthese high-quality questions than official ACTpractice tests.Practice tests are valuable not just because of whatyou gain while you’re taking them, but because of what youcan gain upon reflection after taking the test. Afteryou've taken your first practice test, note what surprisedyou most about the experience (both in a good way and ina bad way). It could turn out that you're a lot more focusedwhen you sit down to take the test all at once; on the otherhand, you might discover that when you take the ACT at8am, you're a lot more prone to making carelessmistakes on Reading than you would be otherwise.5
1: What Practice Tests Do WellReviewing wrong answers, or even questions youweren't sure about but guessed correctly on, is key toimprovement. Once you identify your problems, youcan then come up with solutions (whether it’s makingsure to sleep enough the night before the test or continuingto take more practice tests to get used to the timedemands). After you've implemented those solutions, youshould take a second practice test and see if the changesyou've made in your studying have resulted in changes inyour score.One final point is that taking practice tests close (butnot too close) to the ACT helps you build up your testmuscle memory. Like playing a piano concerto all the waythrough in advance of a concert, or playing through a fulltime scrimmage before a big game, taking full-length ACTpractice tests gets your mind in shape.High-quality practice tests are a Conclusion:critical (30% ) part of a good ACT studyprogram. Read more about why high-qualitymaterials are important in our guide to the bestACT prep websites.6
2: What Practice Tests Don’t DoPoint: Practice tests become useless if you Keydon’t reflect on your performance and learn fromyour mistakes.While practice tests are important for all the reasonsoutlined above, you can't spend 80% of your ACT prep timeon practice tests and call it a day. Practice tests aren’t theanswer to every problem and won’t cure all your issues.7
2: What Practice Tests Don’t DoLet’s say, that you're 30 hours into your studying. Ifyou take three practice tests in a row, you’re not likely tosee positive results. You'll be gaining a little bit of musclememory, but score increases as a result of musclememory are very low. You'd be better off investing thattime shoring up your weak spots with targeted practicequestions.When Practice Tests Fall ShortDoing focused practice questions outside of takingfull-length practice tests is important forimproving specific skills, like using quadraticequations or understanding parallelisms. Answeringthe same type of question over and over again anddrilling down on why you're making mistakes is themost effective path to improving your performancein those areas.As you improve on the ACT overall, narrow practice ismore efficient, because the more you study, the fewerareas and types of questions you’ll struggle with.Therefore, as you get further along in your studying,it’s a better use of your time to focus in on your weak areas8
2: What Practice Tests Don’t Dorather than taking an entire practice test and wasting timeon doing questions that you already can ace.Finally, practice tests become useless or wastedwithout enough preparation before taking each one. If youtake one, don’t learn any lessons (either by reflecting onwrong answers or reviewing theory and content youdidn't know), and take another practice test, the secondone will almost certainly be a waste of time and energy.Practice tests are most effective as Conclusion:a study tool when used in conjunction with otherstrategies like targeted practice questions andreviewing your errors.9
AND NOW WHAT?Through this guide, you’ve learned a lot about what ACTpractice tests can and cannot do for you. Make sure youstructure your studying in a way that works for your needsso that you can see the best results.We at PrepScholar believe we’ve built the best ACT prepprogram in the world. But even if you don’t work with us atPrepScholar, we hope you found this guide useful.Next up: Read our free Ebook on the PrepScholarsystem today: Click here to get your Ebook!or call us at 1(866) 811-5546, where one of ourAcademic Advisers will walk you through the best optionsfor you and your family.We’d love to hear from you.Finally, if you found this guide helpful, please share it withany other people who might benefit.Good luck!-The PrepScholar Team
Next up: Read our free Ebook on the PrepScholar system today: Click here to get your Ebook! or call us at 1(866) 811-5546, where one of our Academic Advisers will walk you through the best options for you and your family. We'd love to hear from you.