The following information was taken, by permission, from a presentation presented by the Princeton Review.


A. Guessing

  1. Never leave anything blank. There is no guessing penalty for guessing on the ACT.
  1. If you have to guess, use the same letter each time throughout the test.

B. POE = Process of Elimination

  1. Cross out answers you know are incorrect.
  2. Use common sense.
  3. Use information gleaned from corresponding passages.
  4. Estimate on Math questions.
  5. If part of the answer is false, he whole thing is false.
  6. If the answer has strong words ( like never, always, must, all, and everyone ) odds are it is wrong.

C. Time Pressure

  1. The writers of the test intentionally put testers under time pressure in the hope that you will not make it through the end of the section, thus not having a chance to answer the relatively easy questions near the end.

D. The Two Pass System – Works two ways

  1. Do the easy questions first, and then go back and work on the hard ones.
  1. On the reading and science sections, pick the passages that look like they will take the least amount of time first, and then go back and do the harder ( or longer ) ones second.

E. You don’t have to finish the Reading or Science sections to get a
good score.

  1. If you are scoring 26 or below on reading, just do three passages ( pick the three you feel you will do best with ).
  2. You can achieve a good science score by just doing 5 or 6 of the seven passages.
  3. Don’t forget to guess at the skipped questions with your selected letter of the day. (use same letter in all guesses )


A. Math

  1. A lot of people get low scores on math sections because they haveforgotten basic algebra.
    1. a. Review factoring, distributing, percents, and solving for X.

      b. For geometry, review area, circle, and triangle formulas.

      c. Review math vocabulary.

B. English

  1. The answer choice “no change” is right just as often as it is wrong.
  2. The answer choice “Omit This Underlined Portion” is right more often than it is wrong.
  3. If the underlined portion is grammatically correct, check to see if there is a shorter, more concise, way to write it among the answer choices. If so, that is what they are looking for.

C. Reading

  1. Don’t read the passages! This is a time waster. Go straight to the questions and then look for the answers within the passages (skim)
  2. Do the general questions ( like “what is the main idea of the passage?” ) last.

    D. Science Reasoning

  1. Don’t read the blurb at the beginning of each science passage unless you are working on a “fighting scientist” ( a question which is drawn from the differing opinions of two  scientists ).
  2. Everything you need to know in order to answer a science reasoning question is provided. Review reading charts, graphs, and diagrams.


Note: The above strategies may provide different results for different students, but they are worth a try. In the end, only a student’s best ACT Score will be considered for college entry and/or scholarship qualification.