LAST MINUTE ACT ADVICE
First- don’t panic. The test is tomorrow, so cram studying won’t help you.
Second, remember your calculator and extra batteries. You can’t use a cell phone or a calculator with a QWERTY (typewriter-like) keyboard. Your scientific or graphing calculator you use for math and science should be all right. You can actually use a calculator with a paper printout if you take out the paper.
Here’s the link to the official ACT calculator policy, so you can make sure your calculator is appropriate: http://www.actstudent.org/faq/calculator.html If you do this now, you will still have time to run by a store and get an appropriate calculator tonight, even if you have to go to a 24-hour drugstore.
Third, plan to bring a watch or a little timer – again, you CAN’T USE YOUR CELL PHONE DURING THE TEST. So you’ll have to “party like it’s 1989.” Apologies to Prince. But seriously, leave your cell phone at home. It’s useless to you, and you will run into problems if you are even suspected of using it. And what if some exam proctor takes your new iPhone or Samsung Galaxy before the test, and loses or breaks it? Or if you leave it in your car, someone breaks into it, etc.? BAD NEWS.
Fourth, make sure you know how long it takes to get to the test site. If you’re taking the test at your high school, you obviously know how to get there, but you should make a backup plan in case you can’t get there in the usual way. What I mean is, if you normally get a ride to school from your parents, make sure you know how and when to leave if you need to get there by transit, bike, or walking if there’s car trouble.
If you’re taking the test at a different site from your high school, GO THERE TODAY OR TONIGHT. Make sure you know how to get there. Make sure you have your identification with you, since the proctors (teachers, administrative aides or whatever staff is there) won’t know you, since you don’t go to school there.
Fifth, STUDY YOUR BASIC MATH FACTS. You can find them in this blog’s entries for January 30, 2014, December 24, 2014, and December 19, 2014. Mostly they’re the same ones contained in the “Math Facts” at the beginning of each SAT math section. While the ACT does give you the more complex math formulas if they’re needed for certain problems, the ACT will NOT give you the basic “math facts” such as the formula for the area of a circle, square, or triangle, or the properties of special right triangles. You should also know that the sum of the angles in a quadrilateral is 360 degrees, no matter its shape, and the area of a square is d2/2, where d is the length of the diagonal. Knowing the distance formula for Cartesian coordinates (you know, (x,y)) and the other distance formula – distance = rate x time would also help.
Sixth, spend a little time reviewing the ACT reading comprehension and editing (English) portions of the ACT. Review the answers to the ones you get wrong. There’s not much you can do to improve your vocabulary the night before the test, but you can learn or re-learn a few grammar rules by practicing.
Seventh, be in bed by 10 pm, 11 pm at the latest. An all-night cram study won’t help you; your brain can’t retain huge amounts of new information, so you’ll only make yourself too tired to focus on the test. Finally, DO NOT TAKE YOUR STUDY MATERIALS TO THE TEST SITE. Studying right before the test will help even less than studying the night before, and you won’t be able to concentrate on the materials, most likely. Additionally, you don’t want to be accused of attempted cheating by trying to sneak in test prep materials, you don’t want to have to put them off in some corner and possibly lose them, and so on. Good luck on the test!
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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.