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ACT tips and tricks needed ASAP

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My daughter is a senior this year.  She gets good grades...her current GPA is a 3.8, however, she is really struggling to get an ACT score to match her GPA.   English is her highest test score, math is her lowest.  The other 2 are in the middle....but her over all composite isn't very high.   She went through the Baylor Prep course this fall.  She just took a practice ACT test a couple days ago and scored 2 points higher than her score when she took the test for real this summer....but those 2 points just barely get her into the college of her choice.  And unless she gets that score on a real test, she is still not in.  She is scheduled to take the test in a couple days.  I don't want to ram a bunch of things down her throat at the last minute, but there is a lot of wiggle room...one way or the other depending on her "guessing ability" I fear. 

What I am wondering is if there is any little weird tip or trick that she might not have picked up on or know that might gain her an extra right answer someplace on this test.  Have your kids stumbled onto something that might help.  Please share any and all ideas you have, no matter how basic or simple it may sound. 

It is just so frustrating for her when her grades are so good, but for whatever reason, she can't seem to pull this out.  (she has taken multiple practice tests with the scores being basically the same...one or 2 points up or down depending on the day).  If they would only test on history or geography, she would do much better.  sigh!  

Please help us.

 

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Does she run out of time? (That would be the top reason for scores not matching GPA)

Has she watched the ACT Science Test Prep video?

Without knowing the tips from the JB course and with only a couple of days, it would be difficult to help without harming the helps the JB class has made.

I'd suggest not wasting time on math problems she obviously doesn't know or the ones she thinks will take her too long. She can mark the ones she knows how to do but thinks she'll spend too long on and if she has time, she can go back to them.

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If she must take the ACT in 2 days, I cannot recommend that you spend this money.  However, if she can delay the ACT, my DD had access to the ACT Kaplan Online that is $99.99 for (I think) 6 weeks.  My DD had access to that for several weeks before she took the ACT exam and she liked it. Also, there are some Live classes, where the students can ask the Instructor questions. There is as the PP wrote, some Free information (Videos, etc.) on the ACT and/or Kaplan web sites and if she has time, I would suggest she do those things. Good luck to her!

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If she is going to take the ACT on Saturday, today is Thursday, so she only has one full day to practice and then she should go to a Zumba Class or something like that on Friday night and hopefully sleep well.

She might spend some time on this URL and see if she picks up anything:

https://www.kaptest.com/act/free/act-20-minute-workout

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I suggest she try to improve on her strength in English by going over the solutions in the practice book for every. single. problem on the test she just took, even the ones she got right.  A couple point jump in English will still boost her composite, and that may be all that's needed to get into the school of her choice.

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For a test in two days--just some basic tips you may already know. Does she use the "letter of the day" approach if she's going to run out of time, so that she at least has something marked for any questions she won't have time to get to? ACT doesn't penalize for wrong guesses, so it's worth it to mark something if time will run out.

Science--some people find that reading the question first and then scanning the graph or other illustration for answers works for many questions and is faster than reading the whole text--that can help if she's running out of time in that subject.

Reading--read the question first and then read the passage, so she doesn't have to go back and re-read again if she's not sure of the answer--that can help one get to more questions. 

Is taking the SAT an option instead? Some kids do better on that test, and maybe she should try that one if this test doesn't go better for her. I hope she gets the score she needs!

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39 minutes ago, MerryAtHope said:

 

Is taking the SAT an option instead? Some kids do better on that test, and maybe she should try that one if this test doesn't go better for her. I hope she gets the score she needs!

what is the difference between the SAT and ACT....I guess I always thought the SAT was harder and was meant more for kids who took AP courses and were more advanced students. Am I wrong on that?

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I think in a recent thread here it was mentioned that the ACT requires SPEED.  There are other differences. In the case of my DD, she did well on both the ACT and SAT and the scores were consistent. For other students, they do much better on one test than on the other one.

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The ACT results give scores in four areas -- English, Reading, Math, and Science -- and combine those for a composite score.

The SAT tests in three areas -- Reading, Writing and Language, and Math -- but combines the first two areas into one reading-and-writing score. There is also an optional essay portion.

So for the ACT, you end up with four category scores plus a composite score. And only one of those categories is math, so math affects one quarter of the composite score.

For the SAT, you end up with two category scores plus a composite score. So half of the composite score is based on math performance.

I am really a novice at figuring out all of this. (Even when I took the tests myself a million years ago, I didn't really know all of the differences; I just took both of them.) But I've heard that for students who struggle more with math, the ACT can be a better option, because less math is counted into the composite score. You can google this, too, instead of taking my word for it, since I admit I'm still learning about it.

 

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Scores were consistent here between the SAT and ACT, in the end, too. The SAT was revised a few years ago (after a previous revision awhile ago). The math on the SAT doesn't go as far as the ACT math does, but there is more Stats/Probability, IMO.

There isn't a "science" section on the SAT, obviously. The time crunch isn't as pronounced. My DD almost always finished sections with plenty of time to review questions and twiddle her thumbs. (She usually just squeeked by on the science section and would have to guess on a few math problems that she knew would take her too long.)

There were a handful of math problems on each of the two SAT math sections (one calculator, one no calculator) that are not multiple choice. You have to write/bubble in your answer. 

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With my youngest, I think her high score in math was due to having her take a couple of practice math sections (timed). She marked the problems she struggled with. I marked the problems she got wrong. We spend time going over just those problems. There were a couple of things she was consistently doing (like not reading the problem carefully). Her real math score was much higher than I thought it would be based on the practice tests. 

 

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I know this might be too late your your dd, but this might help other students in the same boat. 

Quick and easy ACT math hack: SLOW DOWN and focus on getting the first 30 questions correct.

Here's why it works: The questions are arranged in order of difficulty, so the first 30 questions are the easiest ones on the test. It makes no sense to rush through and miss an easy question because now you have to get a medium or hard question right in order to break even. 

I also show students the scoring table so they can see they how many questions they can miss and still get the score they want. (By realizing they only need 45 correct answers, for example, it makes it easier to slow down and focus on those 45 questions, knowing they are going to "skip" 15 harder questions)

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