A.C.T. Survival Guide

Soon the cursed ACT will be in full swing, and there are a few tips that I have noted as essential for braving those three, almost four-hour tests and emerging with your sanity intact. This is a difficult process and not one for the faint of heart, so be sure that you are 100 percent prepared before tackling this demon of a test.


Photo Credit: KF

Jimmy Youngblut, Staff Writer

1. Don’t lose your calculator

You must make sure to carry your calculator with you at all times to ensure the maximum safety for this lifeline of a tool. You do not want to come to the realization as you arrive at the testing center that your calculator is actually resting comfortably inside your locker at school, in which you would then race to school only to find the doors locked. This math section is prefaced as, “feasible without a calculator.” Let me tell you a secret: it’s not. Remember it, and hopefully you can avoid breaking and entering an Office Depot at 11:00 PM the night before.

2. Eat a good breakfast

You’re going to be dining in hell for the next four hours, so be sure that you eat beforehand. Why does Rocky eat raw eggs? Because he wins. Why does the McDonald’s Dollar Menu include a Sausage McMuffin? Because they know you need it. Why does Christopher Robin treat Winnie the Pooh to honey? Because it’s amazing. You get the picture: eat something.

3. Don’t write about how attractive your ACT proctor is

On my last test, I got the idea that instead of writing about whether or not computers were useful in the classroom, I should write about how attractive my ACT proctor was. I was not at the time aware that they actually read your essays. This means that writing, “she was gorgeous” in capital letters was an extremely poor decision. Actually try to answer the prompt, if not because that’s what normal people do, but because I am pleading with you to leave the test with at least a little bit of dignity.

4. Sit close to the door

When that beautiful proctor announces that you are free to leave, it’s like being released from prison twenty years early. To avoid being trampled by the herd of wildebeests sitting around you, be poised to grab your gear and get the heck out. There are two kinds of soldiers: the quick ones and the dead ones, and today, you better plan on being quick.

5. B is the new C

Remember in middle school, when you didn’t know the answer to a test question, and you would just go with C? Yeah, C is no longer the go-to answer. It is now in fact B. Some devilish ACT analysts found out that every person guesses C when they don’t know the answer, and they changed it. Chances are that C is going to feature answers similar to, “the 21 donkeys rose to the majestic platform of rainbows and transformed into a golden crested eagle,” when the question is asking, “what is 9+10?” When in doubt, shoot for B.

6. Bring a backup pencil

These tests are rough, but they’re even rougher on your pencil. Just wait until you realize filling in the bubbles as suggested has disintegrated the pencil in your hand. This wouldn’t be a big deal if you had a Ticonderoga Dixon tree in your backyard, but you don’t. Have a backup, and have a backup for that backup. You can’t survive this test without the essentials, and a pencil is number one on that list.