There are a number of reasons to take ACT practice tests when getting ready for the ACT. One of the important things you need to do when taking practice tests is to learn from your mistakes. So after you get done taking and scoring a practice test, look at the questions you got wrong and try and figure out why you missed them. The reason that you got a problem wrong usually comes down to one of three reasons:
First, you just didn't have the knowledge to answer the problem. This is often more obvious in the math section than in others. For example, if you simply don't know the formula for the area of a circle, it will be difficult to answer any questions that require you to know that formula. It can be a problem in other areas as well. Not knowing punctuation rules or grammar rules will hinder your ability to answer those types of questions in the English section. If you find that you don't have the knowledge to answer particular types of questions, that gives you something to target and study to fill the gap.
It will also help if you study related areas as well. For example, if you didn't know the formula for the area of a circle, do you know the formula for the perimeter of a circle? How about the volume of a sphere? Are there other characteristics of a circle that you need to know? Make sure you bone up on all your weak areas before you take your next practice test so you can see if you improve in that area.
Look at the problems you got wrong and determine what types of questions they were. All ACT tests are composed of certain types of questions. For example, there are a certain number of trigonometry questions on each test. If you find that you are struggling with the trigonometry questions, that gives you an area that you need to study.
Second, you didn't know the answer, eliminated some of the answers and guessed from the remaining answers, but guessed wrong. This can partly be solved by increasing your knowledge as described above so you don't have to guess. However, sometimes you may have to guess anyway. Look at the answers you eliminated. Did you eliminate the correct answer? Look at the answers that you didn't eliminate. Where there more answers that could have been eliminated? Make sure you understand why they could have been eliminated. It will always be to your benefit to eliminate as many answers as possible before guessing. Some of the many tips and strategy guides can help you better understand how to eliminate answers.
Third, you were careless. Sometimes you do most of the problem right, but make a careless mistake along the way. ACT test creators recognize this and often put in answers that might be the result of a careless mistake. For example, perhaps a math problem asked for the answer in feet, but the problem was given in inches. If you forget to convert inches to feet, you'll get the wrong answer. And the test will often have that answer as one of the possibilities (but say feet instead of inches).
Did you get the right answer, but fill in the wrong circle? As before, analyze why you were careless and try and figure out a way to compensate for that error if you find a pattern. If you are rushing, make sure you slow down a bit, and do a quick double check of your work. Or perhaps you can circle key parts of the question (like where if it says to give the answer in feet) to help you remember those details. Or force yourself to consider all the answers if you find that you are jumping at selecting the first answer that seems correct, instead of looking for an answer that might be more correct.
Make sure you never leave an answer blank. There are no penalties for guessing, so you should never leave one blank. That would be a careless mistake. Give yourself 20-30 seconds before the end of the test to look over the portion that you just completed and make sure every question has an answer.
Using ACT practice tests are an important part of your ACT test preparation. Make sure that you get full benefit from them by learning from the mistakes you make while taking them so you don't repeat those mistakes when taking the real test. If you find that you struggle with a question, put a mark by in in your practice test book. Even if you get the answer right, it may be an area that you need to improve on so that you don't spend so much time on that type of question on the real test. Your goal should be to get every question right. Learning from your mistakes will help you get closer to that goal.
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