1. Being unprepared!
Many students will do little or no prep work. They will not do any research and they will not know what to expect when they sit down to take the test. They will expect that the test is just like the standardized tests that they have to take in school. While there are similarities, the ACT is much more difficult… and there is much more at stake.
Don’t make this mistake! Do your research. Find out about the test and the skills that you need. Take practice tests and read ACT prep books. Start studying and practicing early!
2. Not finishing the test!
Many students get too caught up in one or more questions and fail to finish the test in the allotted time. This is a terrible mistake, particularly since there is no guessing penalty on the ACT.
Don’t make this mistake! Bring a wristwatch with you so that you can pace yourself accordingly. Be aware of how much time you have to complete each question and practice techniques that will help you complete the test more quickly (skimming reading passages, etc.). If you can’t answer a question, skip it and finish the test. You can go back and guess if you have time at the end.
3. Not reading the instructions correctly!
Since there is not a great deal of extra time, many students make the mistake of rushing through and answering the questions without reading the instructions. This is a silly mistake that can cost you valuable points on your score!
Don’t make this mistake! Take your time and read the questions and instructions thoroughly. It is better to get one question wrong because you didn’t have time than to get several questions wrong due to making a mistake on the directions.
4. Being unfamiliar with the test format and timing!
Many students who come into the test unprepared will not realize that they only have a minute or less for each question, or they may not understand the layout of the different exams. The ACT can be rather confusing if you do not know anything about the format of the test.
Don’t make this mistake! Do your research and take practice tests so you know what to expect when you sit down on test day!
5. Making a mistake on the answer sheet!
It is easy for students to skip a line on the answer sheet. This is a terrible mistake to make, since this can throw off the answers for the rest of the exam. Although skipping questions and coming back to them is a good test technique, it can also throw off your answer sheet if you forget to skip the answer on the ‘bubble sheet’.
Don’t make this mistake! Be very careful to bubble the correct number for each question. If you skip a question on the test, be sure to skip the line on the answer sheet as well.