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Why Practice Tests Matter

Action:  Watch the video and read the information below.  Be sure to complete the assignment at the bottom of the page.

In this lesson, you are going to conduct your own ACT Testing Analysis.  You will be a detective and the mystery you are trying to solve is all about you.  You will look at how you approach the ACT and what your strengths and weaknesses are on the practice test? Which type of question is your strongest category? Which is your weakest? Do you confidently know the subject matter tested or are you guessing? Knowing this information will help us figure out what you need to go back and review and will guide you on this journey.

Take a look at the practice test you just completed.  Do you notice on the score sheet that the questions are broken down into specific question types?

Pick a question category and systematically work through all of the questions listed under that category.  For example, look at all of the Production of Writing (POW) questions on the English test. Work your way through all of questions in this reporting category and analyze them by following these steps:

1. Read the question. This will help you become familiar with the way the ACT asks this type of question.  They will be fairly consistent in how they word each type of question.

2. Did you get the question correct or did you miss it?

3. If you got the question correct, was it a lucky guess or did you confidently know the answer?

4. Start a list of subject matter content that you need to review for each subject and add the topic questioned to that list.  If there was any doubt about your answer for a question, add it to the list. For example, you may discover that you need to review comma placement rules or scalene triangles. No judgement.  Just add it to the list - whatever it is.

5. Choose another reporting category (e.g., Knowledge of Language) on the English test and follow the same technique.

6. When you finish the 2nd reporting category, move on to the last reporting category (e.g., Conventions of Standard English) and complete your analysis of these questions.

7.  When you complete the English test, continue analyzing your practice test by subject and question reporting category.  In other words, after you study your performance on the English test and identify all the areas from that test that you need to review, continue the process with the Math, Reading, and Science tests.  This will serve to help you begin your customized content review list and familiarize you with the way that questions are asked on the ACT.

NOTE:  This process may take a little while to complete, but it is a very important first step for you to complete as you prepare for the ACT.  You may continue on with the lessons in Module 2 while you are in this process, but do not begin Module 3 until you have completed this step.


Follow the directions above to break down and analyze your baseline practice test. List your subject tests in your journal from strongest to weakest.  Under each test, list the reporting categories from strongest to weakest. Begin a list in your course journal of subjects that you need to go back and review. Make a point to do that during your ACT Prep study time. (It is great to know what you need to work on, but if you don't do it, you won't benefit from that knowledge.)