A guide for scoring well on the ACT

September 6, 2021

The ACT score ranges from 1-36 and there are specifics you’ll need to know about how the results are calculated. In the exam, there are four different sections:

  • English Language and Composition - 1 point
  • Math Reasoning Skills - 2 points
  • Reading Comprehension & Essay Skills - 3 points
  • Science Reasoning Test - Students have a limit of 40 minutes per question with up to five questions on each passage

The scores range from 1 - 36 depending on how you do during your exams, so make sure you're set before time runs out!

Scoring well on the ACT is important because this could determine your future in regards to where you go to University and can be a determining factor on what type of job you will eventually have. It is imperative you understand what to do and when to act in an ACT. The ACT test prep you need to do is more simple than most people think - it is just understanding what to look for.

For example, some students end up spending too much time on the hardest problems. This means you may rush through the easiest problems, but rather than answering the questions in the order they come, think about whether a question could be an “Answer Now?, Answer Later? or Answer Never?” type of situation as the test goes on.

Think about how you will answer each question in the following 3 brackets

  • NOW - Does it look okay and do I know how to do it? If so, then DO IT NOW!
  • LATER - This will take me a while and will save some work for later by leaving now.
  • NEVER - Know your weakest topics/signs that flash danger.

To find the correct answer on a multiple-choice test, look for wrong answers

  • The ACT hides the right answer behind one or two incorrect ones to lead you astray and make it more difficult to figure out which one is correct. This is meant to test your problem solving and critical thinking skills.
  • To be sure that you're not making an educated guess without really understanding why something is True or False, cross off all but one or two possible choices at first.
  • Then narrow down your selections by focusing only on those with different wording. Observing how each word will affect meaning can help reveal which words are actually in conflict with each other like "flowers" versus "fruits." This process may take longer than just looking for where there aren't any asterisks next to letters. However, if done correctly this method will provide you clarity.

Make sure your answer sheet is filled out correctly

  • Believe it or not, some students know the exact answer but lose points because they filled out the answer sheet incorrectly and did not double check the final answers.
  • To avoid this from happening altogether when filling in bubbles for each question, work through an entire page at one time and double check each page on your answer sheet. Once you’ve finished the test, go through the answer sheet with meticulous detail and match it to the test.

Breathe and relax

  • Be sure to balance study time with other activities. It can be easy to think that studying all the time without any breaks is a good way of learning, but your brain and body need rest to effectively soak in information. Your mind won’t be able to effectively retain what you’re reading while tired or on the brink of a burn out.
  • Take frequent breaks while studying to stretch and drink water.
  • Eat well - Limit your intake of sugar and carbs, which can lead to feeling tired and run down. Be sure to eat a lot of fresh vegetables and fruits.
  • Try the 90 minute rule - Identify where your challenge areas are and focus the first 90 minutes of your study time on this subject. The first 90 minutes is when your brain is well-rested, clear, and can retain more information.

By practicing frequently, we become familiar with how an exam works and further improve our skills. The ACT test prep allows us to see which areas need improvement and what subjects are our strong suit. Make a schedule and stick to it as well as you can and you will be prepared. If you need to get help, there are many online guides as well as ACT tutoring you could take advantage of.


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