Five Simple ACT Strategies to Share with your High School Juniors

Jorge Miranda blog post
By Jorge Miranda, Director of High School Leadership Development, KIPP Foundation

Saturday, April 9th. Those of us who work with high school juniors know this is a big day. It’s when students take the official ACT!

Even for the most-prepared student, it’s helpful to go into the test with a plan in mind. Before the big day, here are five test-taking strategies to share with your juniors:


  1. Start with a clear goal. Before you take the ACT, come up with a goal for your composite score. This should take into account your previous composite and subject scores from practice tests, as well as the ACT requirements for the schools on your college wish list.


  1. Make sure you answer every question. This might sound obvious, but don’t leave any questions blank if you can help it—there’s no penalty for guessing! When you hear the five-minute warning, go back and answer every question you left blank with the first answer choice.


  1. Answer the easy questions first. All the questions—easy and hard—are worth the same, so start with the ones you are sure you know the answers to. Once that’s done, use the rest of your time to go back and answer the more difficult questions.


  1. On hard questions, eliminate the incorrect answers first. If you’re not sure of the answer to a question, start by ruling out the answers you know are wrong. Then make an educated guess among the remaining answer choices.


  1. Budget your time. Don’t spend too much time on any one question. Here’s roughly how much time you get for each section:
  • English – 75 questions in 45 minutes. Expect to spend about 30 seconds per question.
  • Math – 60 questions in 60 minutes. Expect to spend about 1 minute per question.
  • Reading – 4 passages (40 questions) in 35 minutes. Expect to spend about 8 minutes per passage.
  • Science – 7 passages (40 questions) in 35 minutes. Expect to spend about 5 minutes per passage.

Best of luck to all students taking the ACT on the 9th!


Visit Beyond KIPP to find more tips and resources for helping students prepare for college >>


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