General Mistakes made by students in ACT exam
1. Not attempting the Writing Section
2. Never taking timed practice tests
3. Not guessing when in doubt
4. Not reading a particular question thoroughly
5. Not understanding the gist of question
Common mistakes according to each section
The following are the common ACT mistakes students make in each individual section:
a) English Section
- Avoiding option choices like “No error” and “No change”: There is an apparent misconception in the minds of many test takers that “no error” and “no change” answer choices are too far-fetched to be the correct answer choice for a particular question. But in the case of the ACT examination, many questions have such answer choices as the potential answers. So, it should be carefully noted that these answer choices are just likely to be as correct as any other answer choice.
- Case of dangling modifiers: The general rule says that a modifier must be next to whatever it modifies. However, this rule is generally ignored by the majority of the test-takers, and therefore they get tricked by such types of questions. Here’s an example; Incorrect: Relieved of your responsibilities at your job, your home should be a place to relax. Correct: Relieved of your responsibilities at your job, you should be able to relax at home.
- Case of pronoun agreement error: The general rule says that if a noun is singular, the pronoun addressing it should generally be singular. And, if the noun is plural, the pronoun should usually be plural. Here’s an example; Incorrect: If a student wants to be successful and get good grades, they must attend class regularly. Correct: If a student wants to be successful and get good grades, he/she must attend class regularly.
- Not reading the entire sentence carefully: The most common type of questions asked in the ACT examination contains a small part of a long sentence. Test takers usually ignore a punctuation mark or a redundant part in the answer choice and end up selecting a wrong answer choice. So, sentence fragmentation and redundancy error should be checked every time before choosing the answer choice.
b) Mathematics Section
- Forgetting important formulas: Just like any other mathematics examination, you need to remember specific formulas. The best way to memorize the formulas is by creating flashcards with short tricks to remember each formula in your own unique style. The next step after creating the flashcards is to extensively practice an ample number of questions corresponding to each formula-flashcard and keep revising them from time to time.
- Using the calculator incorrectly: While attempting the paper, you should use the calculator carefully. Test takers usually make mistakes while using calculators and end up doing the wrong calculations.
- Not able to attempt more number of questions: This particular section is a game of speed in the ACT examination, as you have to answer 60 questions in 60 minutes, which is not an easy task. So, proper time management is necessary. The best approach in such a case is to aim for a particular score and then divide your time into two different rounds. Accordingly, you can attempt all the easy questions in the first round and mark the difficult ones, which can be attempted during the second round.
c) Science Section
- Not using the elimination process: Most of the test takers waste precious amount of their time in solving certain questions in this particular section, which can easily be solved via answer choice elimination technique.
- Getting stuck on unfamiliar science terms: Sometimes, the passage contains difficult scientific term whose meaning is specified in the passage. So, eventually, the test takers get confused while dwelling deep into each term and trying to recall its meaning which is generally not needed for answering the question and end up either leaving the question or wasting their time
- Attempting the difficult passage first: It is a widely established notion that the conflicting viewpoint passage is the most challenging passage of this entire section. Still, many students attempt it initially without realizing the fact that it is the most time-consuming passage. So, it should be generally avoided initially, and instead, research summaries or data interpretation passages should be attempted first.
d) Reading section
- Not taking notes: Taking notes or marking a portion of the text helps you to focus on what you’re reading and also guides you back to the critical parts of the paragraph to answer the questions. This can save an ample amount of time as the possibility of re-reading the text reduces to a great extent.
- Not using the text to support your answers: The test taker usually makes a mistake by selecting an answer choice based on his or her opinion about that topic, but the actual answer choice is purely based upon the text and is not at all related to the outside knowledge of the test taker.
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