How to Improve your ACT Score

Here's how you plan your studies, write well in the exam and improve you ACT score. Learn more about how to crack the ACT and tips to improve your previous score.

Updated by Harsh Rao on 14th January 2020

The American College Test (ACT) plays an important part in the development of a student. This test signifies the phase of a student’s life when they graduate from school and enter college for the first time. The ACT evaluates the students based on their academic knowledge factors, namely - English, mathematics, reading, science reasoning, and writing skills.

The sections for the ACT and their marks allotment are as follows 

Sections Questions and Time Allotment Contents


English 45 min. for 75 questions Grammar & usage, punctuation, sentence structure, strategy, organization, and style.

Multiple-choice usage/mechanics and rhetorical skills questions.

Mathematics 60 min. for 60 questions Pre-algebra, elementary algebra, intermediate algebra, coordinate geometry, plane geometry, and trigonometry.

Five-choice, multiple-choice questions.

Reading 35 min. for 40 questions Reading comprehension of what is directly stated or implied.

Four-choice, multiple-choice referring and reasoning questions.

Science Reasoning 35 min. for 40 questions Interpretation, analysis, evaluation, reasoning, and problem-solving.

Four-choice, multiple-choice data representation, research summaries, and conflicting viewpoints questions.

Writing (optional) 40 min. for 1 essay Writing skills Essay prompt

To pass the ACT with flying colors, one must be willing to sacrifice the delicacies and comforts of daily life and focus solely on educating themselves and learning for the ACT. Just like any other aspect of life, you reap what you sow. According to this concept, you reap good results if you exert yourself towards preparation for the test.

If you have a strong drive or motivation to excel in the ACT, it goes a long way in your future education. If not, it would be advisable to find one soon, cause it does make a difference.

Follow these 7 steps for a substantially improve your ACT score: 

Practice Better

As the old saying goes, “practice makes perfect”, the same applies to the concept of ACT. One must indulge themselves in practicing ACT out of sheer willpower and interest to make the most out of it. If the force driving you to practice for the ACT is foreign or desperation, the results will not be as fruitful or satisfying.

There are a number of study materials and guides out there to prepare you for this exam. But not all of them are worth your time and resources. What you need to do is make sure the material you’re referring to is of top quality and up to date with the recent information, to make the practice worth its while.

Form a Strategy

You need to understand and accept the fact that not all the questions in the ACT can be correctly answered on time by everyone. You need a self-made strategy to make the most out of the provisions provided with your abilities and knowledge.

It isn’t necessary to go deep into each and every question to get the correct answer. What you can do instead is consider various other techniques to assess the correct answer out of the given options, without much use of lengthy evaluation process or complex calculations.

Learn from Your Mistakes

The time you spend practicing has a huge impact on your results. During this time, you will come across the various mistakes you make constantly and your weak points. It is of paramount importance that you utilize this time to learn from your mistakes, overcome those weaknesses, and turn them into your strengths.

ACT can be a challenging affair. The competitiveness is high and no one likes others to get ahead of them. To beat this tough competition, make sure that you do your best on your part and prepare yourself up to the teeth.

Set a Goal

Unless you are a great scholar with excellent academic background and outstanding life-long results, the scope of scoring a bullseye in your first test is extremely low. What you can do to use your full potential is to set a goal appropriate to your own self and aim for that.

Even if it’s not your first attempt at the ACT, but you want to score better results as compared to your last attempt, set your goal to up to a reasonable ceiling and work on it. It does not matter if you fail, as long as you learn from it and do better the next time. 

Prioritize the Questions

Ever since the beginning of our education, several minor and unnoticed factors determine our strengths and weaknesses, that last a lifetime. You may not overcome all of your weaknesses in a short time-span, but what you can do instead is prioritize the questions and sections in the ACT according to your preferences and strengths.

By doing so, you can increase the scope of scoring better as compared to grinding on the questions that you ain't familiar with. Instead of wasting your precious time on attempts that have a chance of failing, prefer answering those which you think can get it in the first try.

Manage Your Time

The question paper will contain various sections, with different subjects and variations. You can not give time allotment to all of the questions equally, as they don’t require the same amount to time to be solved.

It would be much better if you pre-decide the time-allotment for each section. This will ease your mind and help you smoothly finish your test on time.

Be Confident

One of the most important aspects of writing the ACT and scoring high marks is to keep your cool and be confident. You need to trust the time you’ve spent practicing, preparing and grinding for this test and expect nothing less but the best you deserve.

Don’t ever doubt yourself just cause it is your first attempt at the ACT or because you have failed your attempts in the past. Believe in yourself and exceed the expectations of those that believe in you.