Since another ACT date is coming up soon, I thought I’d post some ACT advice for you ACTors. ;-) Time to clean up your ACT and be a good ACTor... ;-)
ACT Advice –
1. If you don’t know the answer at all – guess! Unlike the SAT, the ACT has NO penalty for guessing incorrectly. Just pick one answer choice as your “guess” answer choice (I know the letters alternate between questions, but just pick the first, second, third, etc. as your choice), and move on.
2. If you’re having trouble with a problem, and have spent more than a minute on it, and don’t have a clear idea of how to solve it, mark the problem in your test booklet, mark your “guess” answer choice on the answer sheet, and move to the next question. While the math problems are supposed to be organized in order of difficulty, there’s no guarantee that a later problem will be harder for YOU than the one where you don’t see how to solve it – you may just not know the subject matter or the “trick” you need to solve it (although the ACT is much less “tricky” than the SAT).
3. KEEP MOVING. The ACT is about doing many simple problems quickly, while the SAT is about solving fewer problems with more “tricks” to them. Don’t dawdle; you can’t afford it.
4. Remember all the SAT tips and tricks. If you’ve taken the SAT, don’t forget those tricks and tips. Just because there are fewer tricks on the SAT, it doesn’t mean there are NO tricks.
5. Also, KNOW THE BASICS. The ACT doesn’t give you the little formula sheet at the beginning of each math section, as the SAT does. That means you HAVE TO KNOW the properties of special right triangles (see other entries in this blog), how many degrees are in a triangle and a circle, the formulas for the areas of a circle, triangle, rectangle, and square, the volume of a cube, rectangular prism, cylinder, and possibly a sphere or a cone. Know the powers of 2 up to 210 (it’s 1024 – come on, if you’re interested in hiring me as a tutor, you live in or near Silicon Valley- you should know that 1KB = 1024 bytes ;-) )…
6. Know your trigonometry basics. The ACT, unlike the SAT, can ask questions about trig, but is unlikely to ask anything too involved, and there will be only a few questions. So if you don’t know trigonometry, don’t panic. Some of the questions I’ve seen actually GIVE YOU the trig identities and the relevant sine, cosine, and tangent values in a table, so all you have to do is choose the correct values from a table, then manipulate them algebraically to get the answer, meaning you basically don’t even have to know trig to solve the problem, and you can remember the trig functions as they apply to a right triangle as “Oscar Has A Headache Over Algebra.” “Huh? I don’t get it,” you say? Never fear. Just write
Sin = O/H
Cos = A/H
Tan = O/A
Read the right side from top to bottom, and you get the first letters of “Oscar Has A Headache Over Algebra.” O is the side opposite the angle for which you want the function (sine, cosine, etc.) value; A is the adjacent side (the side the angle touches that isn’t the hypotenuse), and H is the hypotenuse (the longest side; it’s opposite the right angle).
If you keep these simple rules in mind (and if you paid attention and worked reasonably hard in high school) you shouldn’t have any problem getting a good score on the ACT.
Author: John Linneball Who did you think? ;-)
I'm the proprietor and only tutor for this business; that's why I named it after me.