Using The ACT Practice Test.


Before you decide to do self study or hire a tutor, you should take an ACT practice (diagnostic test). It is basically a retired ACT test that you can download online or find in The Real ACT Prep. Guide .  Once you have found one, take the test in one 3-4 hour period but before you score your test, you should know the difference between a Raw ACT score and a Scale ACT Score.

Raw ACT Score

Is the total number of answers that you got correct in a section. For example, if you get 70 out of 75 questions right on the English section, then your raw score is 70 for that section.

Scale ACT Score

This is the score you get after you convert your raw score using a formula in the answer key section.  “But, why?”, you may ask. Okay, here’s a scenario. Say,  you take the ACT in October and your best friend takes it in February, and you both get 24 out of 40 questions right on the Reading section, but your friend ends up getting a Scale ACT score of 23 and you get a Scale ACT score of 21.  No, this doesn’t mean that your friend bribed somebody. It means that your friend got a harder ACT reading section than you did.  So, because scores are converted differently on each ACT test, each test has a different raw score to scale score conversion chart. Click here to see conversion charts on pages 57-60 of this ACT Practice Test.

One you have converted your raw scores in to scaled scores, using the conversion chart,  you can now calculate your composite score. The composite score is from 1-36 and is the average of the scale scores for the four sections: English, Math, Reading, and Science.  So, you add up these sample scaled scores for each of the four sections and then divide them by four.

  • English: 24
  • Math: 28
  • Reading: 26
  • Science: 25

Remember your mean, median and mode days? 😉 And round the decimal to the nearest whole number.  For example, 26.75 would be a composite score of 27.

Okay, I did that. What now? 

Next, you should ask yourself the following questions.

  1. Which sections were my strongest?
  2. Which sections were my weakest?
  3. Which type of questions were easiest for me?
  4. Which type of questions were hardest for me?
  5. Which sections did I have time left over?
  6. Which sections did I run out of time on?

Time Management

Time is always an issue.

  • If you have been looking at a questions for a minute or more, before starting to answer it, skip it, for now, and move on. You cant come back to it later.
  • Draw a line through obvious incorrect answers immediately
  • The more practice tests you take, the faster you will get at taking them

Actively Read the Question

Underline key words and phrases in the question. Underline the last part of the question. Often this is the root of the question.

Familiarize Yourself with How ACT Questions are Worded

The more practice tests you take, the more familiar you will be with how the questions are worded.

Eliminate Careless Errors

Get to the bottom of what is causing you to make careless errors. Are you answering the questions too fast? Are you missing key information in the questions? Were you stuck for time?

Once you have analyzed your test, using the strategies above, jump right in to your next practice test.

Here’s to your success!

John Dolan

Fairfield County Test Prep.









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