Using a Pre-Test to Kick-Start ACT Prep

Published on Monday, January 8th, 2018 by

An important first step in learning is first developing an awareness of what exactly you need to know. At MasteryPrep, we’ve learned that pre-testing is a valuable way to earn student buy-in when it comes to test prep. The following pre-test evaluates knowledge students should have by the time they take the test on February 27. These questions deliberately cover details on the test structure, not content, because being well-informed about test style and format alone will increase confidence, fluency, efficiency, and pacing. Once students can answer each of these questions correctly, they are empowered to be confident and prepared test takers, well on their way to improving their scores.

Use the following pre-test to begin this process in your classrooms. Make time to review the answers. Check in with students over the next couple of weeks to gauge progress.  Students should be able to get every question right by the time they they take the ACT.

MasteryPrep ACT Pre-Test

boot camp pre-test

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Pre-Test Answer explanations.

1. The correct answer is B. The test includes sections for English, math, reading, and science but not social studies.
2. The correct answer is C. Students are given 45 minutes for the English test.
3. The correct answer is E. There are 75 questions on the English test.
4. The correct answer is D. Students are given 60 minutes for the Math test.
5. The correct answer is D. There are 60 questions on the Math test.
6. The correct answer is A. Students are given 35 minutes for the Reading test.
7. The correct answer is B. There are 40 questions on the Reading test.
8. The correct answer is A. Students are given 35 minutes for the Science test.
9. The correct answer is B. There are 40 questions on the Science test.
10. The correct answer is A. The score range on the ACT is anywhere from 1 to 36.

1. True. Every question is worth one raw point. These raw points are converted to a scale score of 1–36. It’s better for students to use their raw score for setting goals because it allows them to determine the exact number of questions they need to answer correctly (or alternatively, the maximum number they can get wrong) on each section.
2. False. The number of questions answered correctly is a student’s raw score. That number is converted to a scale score ranging between 1 and 36.
3. True. If students must guess on an English question, they should lean toward the choices with fewer commas. If students are careful to eliminate any obvious run-ons before choosing the option with the fewest commas, this guessing technique will work over 80% of the time.
4. False. At the end of the test, students should avoid blindly guessing choices C and H (the third bubble on each row). The other choices are 30% more likely to be correct than C/H. On the Math test specifically, the best blind guess is actually choice E/K (the fifth bubble in each row). Choice E/K is the correct answer 31% of the time in the last 10 questions, more than choices B/G and C/H combined!
5. False. On the Reading test, students should quickly skim each passage before working through the questions. If they read the passages slowly and thoroughly, they won’t have enough time to answer the questions and earn points.
6. True. On the Science test, the majority of the questions can be answered by reading the charts and graphs. Students should answer these questions first and only read the passage if absolutely necessary to answer the remaining questions.