"What Do I Need for the ACT Please Halp!"
(At Least) One Month Before
- Sign up for an account on actstudent.org.
- Complete the student profile and aptitude questions.
- Register for the upcoming ACT exam. It costs $36.50 for the ACT sans Writing and $52.50 for the ACT with Writing.
- Upload a photo of yourself for your admission ticket.
- Add up to four colleges to receive your scores for free. Extras cost money!
- Clear your calendar that day until 1:00 PM.
- Get an approved calculator and learn how to use it. (I recommend the TI-84.)
- Begin studying and taking practice tests.
- Review English grammar/usage rules and practice your math skills.
- (Sign up for a few tutoring sessions with Kav Kid!)
One Week Before
- Print out your admission ticket.
- Take one final practice test to target your studying.
- If you haven't seen algebra I or geometry in a while, review it.
- Verify that you have transportation and an open calendar that day.
The Night Before
- Eat a balanced dinner with no junk food (upset stomach = bad day).
- Pack a testing kit in a ziptop bag with the following:
- 1. Your admission ticket
- 2. Four sharpened #2 pencils (no mechanical)
- 3. A large eraser
- 4. A calculator + extra batteries
- 5. A photo ID (license, school ID, passport, whatever)
- 6. A water bottle and a light snack (you can't eat these in the testing room, but they'll be nice to have on your break)
- 7. A watch without an alarm or any other sounds
- Double check that you have your admission ticket and photo ID! You can't enter the testing facility without them!
- Don't cram!
- Seriously, don't cram!
- Go to bed relatively early (but don't break your regular schedule too much).
The Morning Of
- Wake up by 6:30 the latest. If you wake up much later, you'll be groggy and potentially late.
- Eat breakfast! Even if it's just an apple, have something good.
- Grab your testing kit (with admission ticket and photo ID!).
- Put on your watch.
- Get to the testing facility by 7:30. Check in.
- Take the test! Use your watch to pace yourself.
- On your break, use the restroom, get a drink, and have a snack.
Lastly, don't worry! You've prepared, and you are ready! (A little nerves are good, though, because moderate levels of cortisol, or your stress hormone, actually improve performance on memory tasks [Wood, S. E., Wood, E.G., & Boyd D. (2013). Mastering the world of psychology (5th ed). Houston, TX: Pearson.])
[This post was first written 2014-06-13 and last updated 2014-07-06.]