How To Raise ACT Score

In an ideal world, every student would get their dream score on their first ACT and go off to the college of their dreams. However, the ideal world does not exist and oftentimes for one reason or another students do not score as well on their tests as they would like to score. Fortunately, the ACT allows students to take the test multiple times so that they can improve their scores between test dates. In many instances, students have months or even a year to do a deep dive into the content and fill all the gaps in their knowledge so that they can hit the score their college or desired scholarship requires. Despite this, sometimes students have tight schedules or a short window of time to improve their ACT scores. Therefore, they need to study in the most efficient, quickest way possible. As a result, they should seek out ways to increase their score as fast as possible, a process that necessitates understanding all parts of the process to achieve every student’s maximum test potential. 

1. What It Takes To Improve ACT Scores

In order to improve their ACT score, a student must first fully understand the work increasing their score will require. Before diving back into their test prep books, students should analyze their performance on the exam and make sure they know exactly how much they want to improve so that they can best design a strategy to increase their score at least that much, if not more. If students do not have a goal of what they want and instead only seek to generally improve, they may still be unhappy with their scores and will have wasted valuable study time on a marginal improvement instead of a meaningful one. 

To improve their score on the exam, students must take the following steps:

Step 1: Know The Previous Result

To find their previous score, students need to log into the ACT website and check out the score report that the ACT provides for them. The composite score should be listed first and is the score that college will look at when evaluating a student’s college application. However, the score breakdowns that the ACT provides are far more important in improving a student’s ACT score. These score breakdowns allow students to see the exact score they earned in each section. This means that students can see which subject areas they must improve in and which subject areas they simply need to keep sharp for their next test. Once students understand their previous result, they can move on to the next step in this process. 

Step 2: Know The Score You Want

It is important for students to set concrete goals that they are seeking to achieve because they can then strategize on how best to improve their ACT score based on the avenues available to reach their goal score. A concrete goal will also help to give students motivation to consistently earn that score on their practice tests which serves to help them focus up during test preparation. Students also may want to know the scores they need to hit in each section that will give them the aggregate score that they desire.

Step 3: Fill The Gap

The third and final step in the process of improving an ACT score is actually filling the gap between a previous score and the goal score. In this step of the process students with enough time should focus heavily on topics they do not understand in each of the subject areas (English, Math, Reading, and Science) as well as the sections as a whole in which they believe they can improve the most. Students who do not have much time until their next test should institute certain tips and strategies that will improve their score without requiring a massive increase in specific knowledge. These methods will help students reach their goal scores and should help them be more confident heading into a hopefully successful test day. 

2. The Main Reasons Students Fail to Improve ACT Scores

If students have taken necessary measures to improve their scores but seem to be plateauing on their practice tests or actual exams, they should take a step back to diagnose the reasons behind their failure to improve. The reasons mainly come from four errors students consistently make as they go through the test. Once students understand the specific reasons why they are failing to raise their score they should take timed tests which are the best way to help them eliminate those errors before test day. The four main reasons students fail to raise their test scores are carelessness, testing too slowly, second guessing their answers, and lacking the knowledge to answer all questions correctly. 

1: Carelessness

The first reason a student may not be improving their test score is that they are taking about the test in a careless manner. Careless behavior can range from failing to internalize all the details of a math problem to overlooking a word like “not” that completely changes the meaning of a question. Students in this category have confidence in their knowledge, but that confidence comes at the cost of answering every question accurately. Students not improving their scores should practice reading every word of each question even if it costs them an extra second or two on the exam because the increased care could lead to small or drastic improvements in their score.

2: Lack of Time Management Skills

Although students should exhibit a high amount of care when taking the ACT, they must also find a balance between care and time management. The next reason students fail to improve their score comes from the opposite of carelessness, acting overly careful at the cost of answering every question. Students in this category want to make sure that they do not miss any part of the question but spend too much time double checking easy questions that they have answered correctly or considering the merits of every answer choice even if there is an obvious correct answer. Students who have issues in this area would do well to remember that they can always come back and double check their answers if they have extra time at the end of the section. These students should prioritize having an answer to every question over having absolute certainty for 75% of the questions as the former almost always results in higher scores. Students who struggle with timing for other reasons, such as lack of ability to read or solve problems quickly enough should look into specific techniques to improve those issues. 

3: Lack of Confidence

Another reason students will fail to improve their score comes from the psychological barriers that mess with their minds during the test. Students in this category lack confidence that they are answering questions correctly so they second guess themselves to the point where they concoct reasons not to choose the right answer such as that the question seems “too easy” or that the answer that they know to be correct “seems wrong”. Second guessing oneself can be a killer on the exam and students in this category need practice doing sections at home purely based on their instincts so that they can see how well they do when they go with their gut. Improved results at home will increase confidence heading into test day which will help to break the score plateau for students who simply need to have more confidence in their hard work and capable minds. 

4: Missing Questions

Finally, some students fail to improve their scores because they  lack the necessary knowledge to improve their score. To raise their score on the ACT these students need to go through intensive specific studying and take note of what topics give them the most issues. Then they must design a study plan that will improve their knowledge in those areas so that they can fill their knowledge gaps. This may be the hardest improvement to make, but it certainly is possible, especially if students decide to get a private tutor to help them improve their ACT score. 

3. How To Improve ACT Scores Easily

Improving an ACT score does not always have to come from studying harder or learning new material that will help a student come to the right answer on test day. Oftentimes working smarter, not necessarily harder, can immediately improve ACT scores if a student makes just a few adjustments to their ACT strategies.

1: Fix Time Management Skills

Improving time management is one way to quickly and easily raise an ACT score. If a student fails to answer every question on the test, logically they will have a decreased chance of earning their best possible score. Furthermore, objectively students who fail to answer every question do not make the most of every minute provided to them. Students should remember that every question counts the same so getting hung up on certain questions comes at the expense of earning points on others. This tip is especially important in the math section where the questions increase in difficulty as the section goes on. Students should expect to go through the first 20 easily, spend a bit more time on the next 20, and then spend the bulk of their time answering the final 20 questions. 

2: Get Enough Sleep Before The Test

The night before test day some students will waste their time and energy trying to cram final bits of information into their brains. This is a massive mistake. The night before the ACT students should do a light review of math formulas and grammar rules before heading to bed to get a full night’s sleep (at least 8 hours). Students who do this will wake up refreshed and ready to attack the test which serves to prevent careless mistakes that torpedo hopes of test improvement

3: Skip Hard Questions

Regardless of how smart or well prepared they are, every student will face challenging questions on the ACT. Most students will encounter a couple of questions that they either do not know how to do or cannot answer with full confidence. As a result, every student needs to know when it is time to skip a question and move onto the next one. Before the test, students should decide on the maximum amount of time they will spend on each question before deciding to give up and focus on correctly answering other questions. Once all other questions have been answered, students can circle back to skipped questions and answer those as well. This strategy, paired with using the process of elimination to increase a student’s odds of selecting the right answer, can be a quick score improvement for some students. 

4: Pass Some Practice Tests

The best way to get better at the ACT is to practice taking real ACT tests using good test taking strategies. These tests can be found through the ACT website. This method has many benefits. First, it allows students to see real questions that have been asked on the ACT, allowing students to get a sense for what kinds of questions will be asked as well as how the ACT will ask them questions. Second, practicing real ACT tests with strategies in mind forces students to examine their shortcomings regarding content, timing, and other facets of the test. Third and most importantly, once students start passing these practice exams and receiving improved scores, they will have increased confidence that they can achieve a better score on test day which will fuel them throughout the actual exam. 

5: Stay Calm While Passing The Test

Oftentimes, score improvement can be achieved by students taking a deep breath, remembering the work they put into studying for the test, and trusting that that work will pay off. Students who let themselves feel too much stress or succumb to their nerves may fail to improve their score precisely because they let that pressure consume them. If students feel stressed or lose their calm during the test, it is entirely worth it to take a minute to calm down and refocus. Students should see the ACT as a chance to show what they have learned since the last time they took it and as the arena in which their hard work pays off. If students can see the test that way and stay calm, they could raise their score without any fundamental changes to their testing process. 

6: Find A Prep Expert 

It is okay to ask for help. If students continue to struggle to improve their score they should reach out to a tutoring service to get in contact with a test preparation expert to help them improve their score. There is no shame in hiring a tutor to help improve a standardized test score because, for better or for worse, these scores have a massive influence on student’s futures. Experts know what they’re doing and more importantly, know how to help. 

4. Raise Your ACT Score With SoFlo Right Now

Students who want to raise their scores and have fun doing it should get in contact with SoFlo tutoring, a company that offers comprehensive one-on-one tutoring for students seeking help with standardized testing. SoFlo pairs each student with an individual tutor who has extensive experience with the ACT and who provides their students with a personalized strategy to maximize test performance. Whether a student seeks to improve their score by 5 or 15 points, SoFlo Tutoring will guide them to success. 

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