Tip from Priyanka: Make the ACT More Manageable

Priyanka NarayanMy name is Priyanka, and I’m a rising sophomore in Quincy House and a tutor for HSA here at Harvard. I plan to study molecular and cellular biology. Outside of academics, I spend most of my time as a member of the Harvard Debate Council and participating in volunteer activities.
I remember during my junior year of high school, the dreaded ACT loomed over me like a bat in the months before I had to take it. To say the least, I felt overwhelmed by the sheer number of questions I had to answer in limited time. Here are five tips to make the ACT a little more manageable:
1. Begin studying months in advance. This doesn’t mean you have to study multiple hours everyday, but it is good to become familiar with the exam early. Remember, studying a couple of hours once a week over multiple months is much more effective than cramming right before the exam.
2. Start your studying with a diagnostic practice exam in exam conditions and grade your exam, taking note of general concepts or questions you don’t understand or need help with.
3. Fill in the gaps in your knowledge. As you grade your exam, you should realize concepts you need to learn better. Use your ACT prep book or get an HSA tutor to help you learn new or confusing material.
4. Have the rules and times for the exam and each of its sections memorized far in advance of taking the exam. You shouldn’t even need to actively memorize them if you’ve done enough practice tests.
5. PRACTICE! Take as many practice exams in timed settings as possible. It makes taking the actual exam a lot easier because you’ll be used to it.

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