Test Taking Strategies

It’s important to be thoroughly prepared for any standardized test. Taking timed practice exams and polishing up on the subject matter is a great first step. Here are some other tips to help you perform your best when the big day arrives:

  • Get everything ready before time so you avoid the stress that comes with rushing. This includes getting your materials ready, such as your ID and pencils and scratch paper, if it’s allowed.
  • Familiarize yourself with the testing center, including directions and rules, the day before.
  • Wake up early, have a good breakfast and dress as comfortable as possible.
  • Familiarize yourself with the test sections so you can plan your testing strategy.
  • There is no penalty for guessing on the ACT, so eliminate as many options as you can and then make an educated guess.
  • Don’t change your first response unless you’re absolutely sure you’ve made a mistake.
  • Keep track of time. Try to answer the easier questions as quickly as possible so you have more time on the harder ones.
  • Frequently check that you are marking the right answer that corresponds to the question you’re currently working on.
  • Read each question from beginning to end before answering. Understand what is being asked before committing to an answer.
  • Take a few deep breaths when you feel stress or anxiety.  This will help you stay calm and focused.


Good luck on your big test and remember, the more prepared you are, the better your results will be!