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5 Easy Ways to Assess Your ACT Prep Skills

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Imagine this: you have practiced with an ACT study guide or a tutor, and you want to know if the studying has paid off. How do you find out before the real test date? Often I get this question from parents . There are many ways to test yourself before the real ACT date. Here are five:

1. Getting tested by a tutor

2. Applying the skills to your everyday school work

3. Taking a practice ACT from a study guide

4. Taking a practice ACT from

5. Quizzing from a friend

Difference between studying and applying

Educators know how students learn. The process is always the same. First, you are taught new skills. While you are learning, you practice the skill and make mistakes. Finally, you master the skill by applying the strategies to other areas besides just in the subject you first learned it.

The ACT isn't any different. First, you learn the strategies either by a teacher or a study guide. Some of my students have even learned by looking at the website. It doesn't matter where you get your information as long as it is correct. You practice the strategies using the information given. To master the skills you must apply them appropriately.

The ACT tests problem-solving skills that may scare you at first. For example, a logical answer to a math problem might be 2, but the answers show a -2. The ACT doesn't always show the logical answer; instead, they show an alternative answer. You must look at every way to solve a problem to master the ACT.

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When I work with students

I use a program called Edmodo which is an online program that allows teachers and students to share documents and assignments. I set up an account for each student. Then I put assignments on Edmodo for them to check out. I will put videos of our lessons or extra questions that students can look over at their leisure. Then the student sends back a note telling me his or her results. Students in my ACT program are given homework to help prepare for our classes together.

Applying the skills to your everyday school work

You must plan on studying for at least 10 hours per point you want to increase overall. Most of my students want to increase their score by at least 10 points which equal 100 hours or more. When students hear how long they have to study for, they become overwhelmed. I teach my students how to apply the ACT strategies to their everyday school work to show them how the strategies are relevant to life.

For example, if you are studying for the ACT English test and are taking a writing class, apply the strategies to your writing. In reading, ask yourself questions as you read to help you understand the reading. Find vocabulary words in your reading and use context clues around it to define the words. Apply math strategies to your math and science classes. Pay attention in science class to the experiments to find out what is happening and why.

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Taking a practice ACT from

Many students have researched the ACT before taking my course. They use the website as a resource. This website has a lot of up to date information from the test makers with tips and tricks teaching how to ace the ACT including earlier ACTs.

If you take this test, you can also get an answer key and analyze your results.

Taking a practice ACT from a study guide

ACT study guides are a great place to test where you are at. A great study guide will give you several tests to practice. The ACT changed in 2016, so make sure you have an updated study guide. A study guide that analyzes your results based on question type or skill type helps you find your strengths and weaknesses. This will help you focus your energy on your weaknesses. Here is a link to a review of the study guides that I use.

Quizzing from a friend

While I tutor students, I urge them to use note cards as a resource during study time. I recommend that students put the word or concept on one card and how to solve or define on another except in math. In math, I teach them to put the concept and a sample problem on the same note card. That way they can match the note cards together like a memory game. Since the ACT consists of multiple choice questions, students can create their own test questions easily and rid themselves of text anxiety.

When you study with a friend, you are able to get a different perspective on a skill or question challenging you to think differently. The ACT is not easy, so increasing the level of difficulty will help you ace the ACT.

Stena Schmitt operates an online tutoring business, Saints Training and Tutoring Services. If you would like an ACT study plan, please visit her website at or email her at

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