As I sit here working on a book to help as many people as possible “conquer” the ACT (whatever that means to each student!), I am thinking about how come some students improve so much while some students have a difficult time increasing by one point.
There are so many factors that go into doing well on the test: content knowledge, timing, test anxiety, and the list can go on and on. But the one factor that seems to be the biggest indicator of an increased score is PRACTICE!
I did well on the ACT when I was in high school, but I definitely didn’t score a perfect. I can now score a 35 or 36 EVERY time I take the test all because I know what to expect on the test. I know the test inside and out. I know which problems I will see on every test. I know which problems are only on every couple of tests. I have all of this knowledge because I take SO many practice tests!
There are several tests that you can buy (https://www.amazon.com/Official-ACT-Prep-Guide-2016/dp/1119225418), and there are many tests that are free (http://my2tor.com/project/resources-tools/), but it only makes sense that the more tests that you take, the easier they will get!
According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, a standardized test is “a test (as of intelligence, achievement, or personality) whose reliability has been established by obtaining an average score of a significantly large number of individuals for use as a standard of comparison.” What this means is that the ACT has to be able to compare what someone gets on a test in December 2016 to a test that is given in June 2017 and to a test that is given in September 2017.
Practice does help, but if you don’t take the time to reflect on the questions you are getting wrong, why you are getting them wrong, and how you can get to the correct answer, you are not going to see your score going up. With all the practice, you need to learn what you are doing wrong! If you go through the incorrect answers and learn why your answers are wrong, you will have discovered the key to increasing your score!
So, what it boils down to is exactly what I said at the beginning of this post. Practice, Practice, Practice!