How the Great Gatsby Can Boost Your ACT Score

Published on Friday, May 31st, 2013 by

The Great Gatsby only went to Oxford for five months, but here are some ACT prep takeaways from his story that could get you there for four years.

Warning: If you’ve never read or seen Gatsby, this is a bit of a spoiler.

Dos and Dont’s



Jay Gatsby focused his entire life in pursuit of his passion: his love for Daisy. Focus on your passion. A high ACT score can help you pursue your dreams, but it takes focus and dedicated preparation to get there. Also, focus during the test, one question at a time. No distractions. When your mind starts to wander, remember DiCaprio’s “focus face.”


Don’t read too much into it.


Part of Gatsby’s downfall was that he read too much into Daisy’s love for him. It turned out she just wasn’t that into him. He saw a deeper relationship than was actually there. It was similar to Romeo and Juliet, except only Romeo took the hemlock. Don’t be a Gatsby on the ACT reading and science passages. If an answer choice isn’t stated in the passage, it probably is wrong.


Don’t obsess.


To Gatsby, only one thing could make him happy: marrying Daisy. Nick couldn’t get Gatsby to see there were other fish in the sea. Some ACT test takers make the same mistake. Don’t obsess over one question when there are 215 that each can give you a point on your raw score. When a question becomes as troublesome and time consuming as a crush on Daisy Buchanan, it’s time to move on.


Stay positive.


Jay Gatsby was the most hopeful man Nick ever knew. His positive attitude helped him push through adversity and overcome poverty. It’s easy to get discouraged while prepping for the ACT. There is so much content to review that it can seem a daunting task. Just tackle one topic at a time and maintain your optimism. If you work hard, you’ll get the score you need.

All images are property of Warner Bros.

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