If you are a junior or senior in high school, there's a good chance that the threat of standardized tests such as the ACT and SAT are looming over you. They can make you nervous and cause you to worry about your future, especially if you don't think that you are going to do well. Here are some tips to make sure that you are going to get the best score possible as painlessly as possible.
1. Start Early
Make sure that you leave yourself with enough time to take both the SAT and the ACT. This will allow you to see which one you like better and which one you do better on. Some people prefer the test-question style of one test over the other. Once you've take both, you should then try to take one of them at least one more time. This can be expensive, but there are many scholarship programs through most high schools.
The reason why you want to be able to take one of the tests at least twice is because you usually get better scores with more repetition. This is because the tests are not actually knowledge based. They are skills based, primarily on how good you are at taking that particular test.
Since your scores get better with repetition, invest time into actually taking the test on your own. There are multiple practice tests for both the ACT and the SAT online. Take them. Purchase the practice test booklets that have additional tests. Consider investing in a test prep tutor. See if your school offers any practice tests. Do whatever you can to take the test as many times as possible.
3. Skip Around
Don't spend too much time on any question. If you get stuck, put a mark next to the question to make sure that you remember to come back to it.
In the same vein, if there are sections of the question that require a ton of reading, most notoriously the ACT's science portion, skip ahead to the questions rather than reading the passage. Then, skim for words in the text that match the words in the question, and you will almost always find the answer. Only read if you absolutely have to.
4. Answer All Question
The ACT has never had a penalty for guessing, so you should always make sure that you try to answer each question and not leave any blank. The SAT got rid of their penalty for guessing recently, so you should also try to answer every single question.
For more information, talk to a company that specializes in helping students get ready for the SAT and ACT.