Six Ways to Squeeze in ACT Prep

Published on Monday, December 31st, 2018 by

ACT Chalk Talk #7


The ACT is a few months away, but that time can fly by. In this Chalk Talk, we share six ideas that have worked for school districts to squeeze ACT prep into already hectic schedules.

1: Use structured bell ringers.

Start each class with a question of the day. Structure it so that students have a week of bell ringers all dedicated to one question type. Familiarizing your students with the questions that most frequently appear on the test can make a big difference on their scores. Our ACT Elements bell ringers make this easy for your teachers, but you can also pull questions from ACT’s free, released practice tests.

2: Introduce timing to your tests.

The cramped time limit on the ACT, especially in the Reading and Science sections, can give students anxiety. You can alleviate this by providing time limits on your tests. These don’t have to be aggressive time limits; just get your students accustomed to working against a clock.

3: Model the process of elimination.

The process of elimination is the core test-taking skill on any standardized test, but students don’t learn it on their own. Model the process of elimination by showing students why the wrong answers are wrong. This can be just as important as helping students understand why the right answer is right.

4: Provide an “ACT Lesson of the Week”

In the six weeks leading up to the ACT test date, have each core teacher provide one lesson each week focused on ACT skills. They can choose the skills that most closely relate to what they’re focused on in their classes. This gives your students 24 ACT prep sessions before their test date. Our ACT Mastery curriculum can make this “plug and play” with your team, or you can have your faculty assemble lessons using available practice questions from ACT, Inc.

5: Insert ACT mini-tests into homeroom or enrichment.

An ACT mini-test is one small part of an ACT test (for example, one Reading passage or six Math questions). Mini-tests help your students practice pacing and are much more engaging than a full-length practice test. You can fit them into homeroom, an enrichment period, or provide them for subs to use. Time each mini-test, then go over the answers afterward.

6: Add ACT challenge questions to your quizzes.

Students who complete their tests early can try their hands at the ACT challenge question you provide in order to pick up a bonus point or stave off boredom if they can’t turn in their test right away.