ACT Prep Book: ACT Secrets Study Guide
eBook - ePub

ACT Prep Book: ACT Secrets Study Guide

Complete Review, Practice Test, Video Tutorials for the ACT Test

Mometrix College Admissions Test Team

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eBook - ePub

ACT Prep Book: ACT Secrets Study Guide

Complete Review, Practice Test, Video Tutorials for the ACT Test

Mometrix College Admissions Test Team

Angaben zum Buch

Über dieses Buch

***Includes Practice Test Questions*** ACT Exam Secrets helps you ace the ACT Test, without weeks and months of endless studying. Our comprehensive ACT Exam Secrets study guide is written by our exam experts, who painstakingly researched every topic and concept that you need to know to ace your test. Our original research reveals specific weaknesses that you can exploit to increase your exam score more than you've ever imagined. ACT Exam Secrets includes: The 5 Secret Keys to ACT Test Success: Time Is Your Greatest Enemy, Guessing is Not Guesswork, Practice Smarter, Not Harder, Make the ACT Test Work For You, Test Yourself; A comprehensive English review including: Simplicity is Bliss, Recognizing Parallelism, Understanding Grammar Type, Keys to Using Punctuation, Beware of Added Phrases, Clearing Up Word Confusion, Comparative Methods, Nonessential Sections, Maintaining the Flow, Serial Mistakes; A comprehensive Math review including: The Easiest Math Review You'll Ever Read, Solving for Variables, Breezing Through Word Problems, Keeping Probability Simple, Using the Right Formulas, Graphing for Success, Racing Through Ratios, Understanding Line Plotting, Mastering Difficult Problems; A comprehensive Reading review including: Determining the Relationships, Making Strategic Eliminations, Recognizing Switchback Words, Understanding Word Types, Finding the Right Opportunities, When Truth Doesn't Equal Correctness, Avoiding the Trap of Familiarity, Making Logic Work for You, Skimming Techniques to Save Time; A comprehensive Science Reasoning review including: Strategic Choice Elimination, Using Similarities for Success, Experimental Explanations, How to Avoid Technicalities, Maintaining the Pace, Understanding the Flaws, Making Bizarre Decisions, Knowing for Certain, Deciphering Variables; A comprehensive Writing review including: Approaching a Topic, Brainstorming for Success, Picking a Main Idea, and much more...

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Secret Key #1 – Plan Big, Study Small

There’s a lot riding on your performance. If you want to ace this test, you’re going to need to keep your skills sharp and the material fresh in your mind. You need a plan that lets you review everything you need to know while still fitting in your schedule. We’ll break this strategy down into three categories.
Information Organization
Start with the information you already have: the official test outline. From this, you can make a complete list of all the concepts you need to cover before the test. Organize these concepts into groups that can be studied together, and create a list of any related vocabulary you need to learn so you can brush up on any difficult terms. You’ll want to keep this vocabulary list handy once you actually start studying since you may need to add to it along the way.
Time Management
Once you have your set of study concepts, decide how to spread them out over the time you have left before the test. Break your study plan into small, clear goals so you have a manageable task for each day and know exactly what you’re doing. Then just focus on one small step at a time. When you manage your time this way, you don’t need to spend hours at a time studying. Studying a small block of content for a short period each day helps you retain information better and avoid stressing over how much you have left to do. You can relax knowing that you have a plan to cover everything in time. In order for this strategy to be effective though, you have to start studying early and stick to your schedule. Avoid the exhaustion and futility that comes from last-minute cramming!
Study Environment
The environment you study in has a big impact on your learning. Studying in a coffee shop, while probably more enjoyable, is not likely to be as fruitful as studying in a quiet room. It’s important to keep distractions to a minimum. You’re only planning to study for a short block of time, so make the most of it. Don’t pause to check your phone or get up to find a snack. It’s also important to avoid multitasking. Research has consistently shown that multitasking will make your studying dramatically less effective. Your study area should also be comfortable and well-lit so you don’t have the distraction of straining your eyes or sitting on an uncomfortable chair.
The time of day you study is also important. You want to be rested and alert. Don’t wait until just before bedtime. Study when you’ll be most likely to comprehend and remember. Even better, if you know what time of day your test will be, set that time aside for study. That way your brain will be used to working on that subject at that specific time and you’ll have a better chance of recalling information.
Finally, it can be helpful to team up with others who are studying for the same test. Your actual studying should be done in as isolated an environment as possible, but the work of organizing the information and setting up the study plan can be divided up. In between study sessions, you can discuss with your teammates the concepts that you’re all studying and quiz each other on the details. Just be sure that your teammates are as serious about the test as you are. If you find that your study time is being replaced with social time, you might need to find a new team.

Secret Key #2 – Make Your Studying Count

You’re devoting a lot of time and effort to preparing for this test, so you want to be absolutely certain it will pay off. This means doing more than just reading the content and hoping you can remember it on test day. It’s important to make every minute of study count. There are two main areas you can focus on to make your studying count:
It doesn’t matter how much time you study if you can’t remember the material. You need to make sure you are retaining the concepts. To check your retention of the information you’re learning, try recalling it at later times with minimal prompting. Try carrying around flashcards and glance at one or two from time to time or ask a friend who’s also studying for the test to quiz you.
To enhance your retention, look for ways to put the information into practice so that you can apply it rather than simply recalling it. If you’re using the information in practical ways, it will be much easier to remember. Similarly, it helps to solidify a concept in your mind if you’re not only reading it to yourself but also explaining it to someone else. Ask a friend to let you teach them about a concept you’re a little shaky on (or speak aloud to an imaginary audience if necessary). As you try to summarize, define, give examples, and answer your friend’s questions, you’ll understand the concepts better and they will stay with you longer. Finally, step back for a big picture view and ask yourself how each piece of information fits with the whole subject. When you link the different concepts together and see them working together as a whole, it’s easier to remember the individual components.
Finally, practice showing your work on any multi-step problems, even if you’re just studying. Writing out each step you take to solve a problem will help solidify the process in your mind, and you’ll be more likely to remember it during the test.
Modality simply refers to the means or method by which you study. Choosing a study modality that fits your own individual learning style is crucial. No two people learn best in exactly the same way, so it’s important to know your strengths and use them to your advantage.
For example, if you learn best by visualization, focus on visualizing a concept in your mind and draw an image or a diagram. Try color-coding your notes, illustrating them, or creating symbols that will trigger your mind to recall a learned concept. If you learn best by hearing or discussing information, find a study partner who learns the same way or read aloud to yourself. Think about how to put the information in your own words. Imagine that you are giving a lecture on the topic and record yourself so you can listen to it later.
For any learning style, flashcards can be helpful. Organize the information so you can take advantage of spare moments to review. Underline key words or phrases. Use different colors for different categories. Mnemonic devices (such as creating a short list in which every item starts with the same letter) can also help with retention. Find what works best for you and use it to store the information in your mind most effectively and easily.

Secret Key #3 – Practice the Right Way

Your success on test day depends not only on how many hours you put into preparing, but also on whether you prepared the right way. It’s good to check along the way to see if your studying is paying off. One of the most effective ways to do this is by taking practice tests to evaluate your progress. Practice tests are useful because they show exactly where you need to improve. Every time you take a practice test, pay special attention to these three groups of questions:
·         The questions you got wrong
·         The questions you had to guess on, even if you guessed right
·         The questions you found difficult or slow to work through
This will show you exactly what your weak areas are, and where you need to devote more study time. Ask yourself why each of these questions gave you trouble. Was it because you didn’t understand the material? Was it because you didn’t remember the vocabulary? Do you need more repetitions on this type of question to build speed and confidence? Dig into those questions and figure out how you can strengthen your weak areas as you go back to review the material.
Additionally, many practice tests have a section explaining the answer choices. It can be tempting to read the explanation and think that you now have a good understanding of the concept. However, an explanation likely only covers part of the question’s broader context. Even if the explanation makes sense, go back and investigate every concept related to the question until you’re positive you have a thorough understanding.
As you go along, keep in mind that the practice test is just that: practice. Memorizing these questions and answers will not be very helpful on the actual test because it is unlikely to have any of the same exact questions. If you only know the right answers to the sample questions, you won’t be prepared for the real thing. Study the concepts until you understand them fully, and then you’ll be able to answer any question that shows up on the test.
It’s important to wait on the practice tests until you’re ready. If you take a test on your first day of study, you may be overwhelmed by the amount of material covered and how much you need to learn. Work up to it gradually.
On test day, you’ll need to be prepared for answering questions, managing your time, and using the test-taking strategies you’ve learned. It’s a lot to balance, like a mental marathon that will have a big impact on your future. Like training for a marathon, you’ll need to start slowly and work your way up. When test day arrives, you’ll be ready.
Start with the strategies you’ve read in the first two Secret Keys—plan your course and study in the way that works best for you. If you have time, consider using multiple study resources to get different approaches to the same concepts. It can be helpful to see difficult concepts from more than one angle. Then find a good source for practice tests. Many times, the test website will suggest potential study resources or provide sample tests.
Practice Test Strategy
If you’re able to find at least three practice tests, we recommend this strategy:

Untimed and Open-Book Practice

Take the first test with no time constraints and with your notes and study guide handy. Take your time and focus on applying the strategies you’ve learned.

Timed and Open-Book Practice

Take the second practice test open-book as well, but set a timer and practice pacing yourself to finish in time.

Timed and Closed-Book Practice

Take any other practice tests as if it were test day. Set a timer and put away your study materials. Sit at a table or desk in a quiet room, imagine yourself at the testing center, and answer questions as quickly and accurately as possible.
Keep repeating timed and closed-book tests on a regular basis until you run out of practice tests or it’s time for the actual test. Your mind will be ready for the schedule and stress of test day, and you’ll be able to focus on recalling the material you’ve learned.

Secret Key #4 – Pace Yourself

Once you're fully prepared for the material on the test, your biggest challenge on test day will be managing your time. Just knowing that the clock is ticking can make you panic even if you have plenty of time left. Work on pacing yourself so you can build confidence against the time constraints of the exam. Pacing is a difficult skill to master, especially in a high-pressure environment, so practice is vital.
Set time expectations for your pace based on how much time is available. For example, if a section has 60 questions and the time limit is 30 minutes, you know you have to average 30 seconds or less per question in order to answer them all. Although 30 seconds is the hard limit, set 25 seconds per question as your goal, so you reserve extra time to spend on harder questions. When you budget extra time for the harder questions, you no longer have any reason to stress when those questions take longer to answer.
Don’t let this time expectation distract you from working through the test at a calm, steady pace, but keep it in mind so you don’t spend too much time on any one question. Recognize that taking extra time on one question you don’t understand may keep you from answering two that you do understand later in the test. If your time limit for a question is up and you’re still not sure of ...


  1. Introduction
  2. Secret Key #1 – Plan Big, Study Small
  3. Secret Key #2 – Make Your Studying Count
  4. Secret Key #3 – Practice the Right Way
  5. Secret Key #4 – Pace Yourself
  6. Secret Key #5 – Have a Plan for Guessing
  7. Test-Taking Strategies
  8. The English Test
  9. The Math Test
  10. The Reading Test
  11. The Science Test
  12. The Writing Test
  13. Practice Test
  14. Answer Key and Explanations
  15. Appendix A: Time Statistics for the ACT
  16. Appendix B: SAT/ACT Equivalency Table
  17. Appendix C: Area, Volume, Surface Area Formulas
  18. How to Overcome Test Anxiety
  19. How to Overcome Your Fear of Math
  20. Thank You
  21. Additional Bonus Material