Once you have chosen which ACT test(s) to take, you should register for the exam ASAP. Go to act.org and set up a student account. Then click on “Registration” scroll down to “Dates, Locations, and Fees” where you will find a list of dates for “Regular Registration Deadline” and for “Late Registration Deadline.” Should you miss the Late Registration Deadline, you can still potentially sign up for the test by scrolling further down to “Standby Testing.” Please note that you must register for Standby Testing and that this type of testing also comes with its own deadline.
You should also take the test at a quiet high quality test center—not all test centers adhere to the highest standards. In this regard, be aware that the best test centers—for example, in New York City, the NYU test center is very popular with students—fill up very quickly.
If you find that the test center you would like to test at is already filled up, or if you prefer to take the ACT on Sunday, go to act.org and type in “Show non-Saturday Test Centers.”
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In life, not having a plan is actually to have a plan—and a very poor plan at that.
Knowing that the test with the best curve is the Dec ACT, incoming juniors should start preparing for the ACT over the summer between their second and third years of high school. Students should register to take either the Sept, Oct and Dec ACT or the Dec, April and June ACT. Why register to take three ACT exams? In my 20 plus years experience working with students I have found that students rarely perform at their optimal level the first time they take the exam. In other words, no matter how well prepared a student is for the upcoming test—and believe me, I always made sure my private students were well prepared for their upcoming test: Before their exam, all my private students had to take a full complement of at least three actual prior exams, given in a group setting, and administered under realistic testing conditions. Even after all of this preparation, the vast majority of my students still underperformed on the test due to test anxiety. The good news is that the vast majority of my students eventually acclimated to the test and did well either the second, or the third time they took the ACT.
Below are a series of five ACT practice tests produced by the actual maker of the ACT. Practice Tests #1-4 are based on an older version of the test; Practice Test #5 is based upon the current model of the exam, which includes a dual passage as one of the four passages on the Reading Test, and six instead of seven passage experiments on the Science Test, as well as a completely revamped writing prompt on the optional Writing Test.
As you practice taking these tests, please keep the following in mind:
- ACT Timing is tight
- To reduce test stress related to this tight timing, don’t work for time, make time work for you using the following guide:
- English Test — 45 mins / five 15 question passages — 9 mins per passage — check your watch only once: after third passage, at roughly the 27 min mark
- Math Test — 60 mins / 60 questions — 1 min per question — check your watch only once: after question 30, at roughly the 30 min mark
- Reading Test — 35 mins / four 10 question passages — 8 mins 45 secs per passage — check your watch only once: after the second passage, at roughly the 17 min 30 sec mark
- Science Test — 35 mins / two 6 question and four 7 question passage experiments — 1 min less per number of questions per passage — check your watch only once: after third passage experiment, at roughly the 17 min mark
As you prepare to take ACT Practice Test #1:
- Print out the test
- Start the clock, writing down the time you started and ended each individual test
- Bubble in your answers onto the answer sheet
- Answer all questions — no points are taken off for wrong answers
Once you finish each of the five ACT Practice Tests, score as follows: using the Scoring Keys for the ACT Practice Test, add up your correct answers per individual test; take that raw score to Table 1 conversion chart to match with your individual ACT test score. For example, on Practice Test 1 is the 34 correct answers on the Science Test converts to a 27 Science Test score. Finally, average the four individual test scores to compute your ACT composite score, understanding that a composite score of 28.5 would increase to a composite ACT score of 29.
Here is another ACT practice test for you to take following the same procedures you used in taking ACT Practice Test #1. Remember, the more tests you take, the better prepared you will be!
In taking Practice Test #3, again, follow the same method you followed in taking Practice Tests #1 and #2, except, in taking this test, start practicing using the timing methods outlined in the Introduction to ACT Practice Tests. Once the allotted time has run out, circle the question, per test, you were working on when the allotted time ran out. Finally, you must start getting used to the rigors of this test. As such, take the test in one sitting, allowing for a—strictly timed—10 minute break between the Math and Reading Tests. The test will take 3 hours and 5 minutes. Finally, go back to each individual unfinished test, restart the clock, and time how long it takes you to complete the test.
Here is another practice test to take. Follow same procedure outlined on ACT Practice Test #3.
The following document is an SAT Practice Test.
Here is a document with the answers so you can check your test:
Use the following document to calculate your score:
ACT Practice Test #5 is based upon the current version of the ACT, and is contained within the 2017-18 ACT Test Booklet. With this fact in mind, before you take this practice test carefully read through the introductory pages of this test booklet to glean helpful information about the current version of the ACT—an ACT exam that looks exactly like the test you will be taking in the near future.
After carefully reading through the introductory material from the test booklet, take the test, in one sitting, using the same method outlined at the start of ACT Practice Test #3, with important exception: if you opt to take the optional Writing Test, please take a—strictly timed—2 minute break between the Science and Writing Tests.
Again, to better familiarize yourself with the rigors of this test, you must take this practice test in one sitting. In this regard, if you take the test without the Writing Test, the test will last exactly 3 hours and 5 minutes; if you opt to take the Writing Test, the test will last exactly 3 hours and 47 minutes.
ALL THE BEST !!!