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Madison Metropolitan School District

Be ACT Ready!

WHY Take the ACT? 

Standardized testing isn't most people's idea of fun—quite the opposite, actually. Why take the ACT, then? And is it a better choice than the SAT? 

Standardized test scores are an important part of college admissions, but they also have value beyond that: taking the ACT can earn you tens of thousands of dollars in financial aid or help you get a job! 

  • What Does Test-Optional Really Mean?
    Test-optional policies became much more popular as a result of the pandemic, when many students couldn't take the ACT or SAT. Though many schools have, in the years since, reverted back to their standard testing requirements, there are, indeed, some colleges that still don't require scores—schools that are test-optional or even completely test-free. 

    In that case, why should you take the ACT? Well, most colleges still want to see how you scored on the SAT or ACT. Even if a school is test-optional, having a strong test score will boost your application and help you stand out from the crowd. If you decide not to take the ACT, it can limit the colleges you're able to apply to and cause you to lose out on a chance to make your application even more impressive. 

  • There Are Scholarships for High Scorers
    Many schools award merit-based financial aid to students, and test scores are often one of the most important factors in determining which students get scholarships and which don't. Even if the schools you're applying to are test-optional, they may still require test scores for financial aid. Because financial aid packages are often worth tens of thousands of dollars, it's well worth your time to take the ACT, even if it's not technically required.

Research shows up to 60% of scholarships require an SAT or ACT score to be submitted as part of the application process.

Check out these
Easy Scholarships You Can Apply to Right Now

Be ACT ready, make sure you have the support you need


Students who have documented disabilities are offered appropriate accommodations during the tests, but they need to be requested in advance. Please see your counselor for information on future test request dates.


Assistance is offered to support students who are English learners. These supports may include extended time on the test, an approved word-to-word bilingual dictionary, receiving test directions in their native language, and testing in a comfortable and familiar environment.

ACT Accommodations

Tips for ACT Reading test success

ACT Reading Test contains 40 questions to be answered in 35 minutes. 

  • Read the passage(s) carefully.
  • Read and consider all of the answer choices before you choose the one that best responds to the question.
  • Refer to the passage(s) when answering the questions.
Science Test Tips

ACT Science Test contains 40 questions to be answered in 35 minutes. 

  • Read the passage carefully.
  • Refer to the scientific information in the passage when answering the question.
  • Read and consider all of the answer choices before you choose the one that best responds to the question.
  • Note conflicting viewpoints in some passages.

Take a sample test


Be ACT ready, study with a buddy

When it comes to studying, two (or more) brains are always better than one. 

Having a friend, tutor, teacher or parent help out will both help you get more information and reduce your workload. Homework might seem like a lot sometimes, but it helps you focus on improving without making you do more work in areas where you may not need it.

Be ACT Ready - Understanding your strengths

A common piece of test-taking advice is to tackle your weaknesses. Let’s be honest: this is great advice! However, it's difficult to pinpoint the skills you need to work on when you don’t understand what you are good at. By finding your strengths, you will ultimately have less stress and be able to set aside things you know you are good at to improve your skill.

Be ACT Ready - time for each test

English: 45 minutes 75 questions
Math: 60 minutes, 60 questions
Reading: 35 minutes, 40 questions
Science: 35 minutes, 40 questions

MMSD students, log in to Methodize account and start practicing today!

ACT, you got this

The night before the ACT
Cramming the night before can leave you anxious and unable to rest. As long as you've given enough time for your ACT test prep, you should be fine. Do something the night before to take your mind off the test, hang out with a friend or watch a movie. Get enough sleep the day before the test. 

Be ACT ready Calculator tips
  • Review the latest information on permitted and prohibited calculators.
  • You are not required to use a calculator. All the problems can be solved without a calculator.

If you regularly use a calculator in your mathematics work, use one you're familiar with when you take the mathematics test. Using a more powerful, but unfamiliar, calculator is not likely to give you an advantage over using the kind you normally use. 

ACT Mathematics Test contains 60 questions to be answered in 60 minutes.

  • Read each question carefully to make sure you understand the type of answer required.
  • If you choose to use a calculator, be sure it is permitted, is working on test day, and has reliable batteries.
  • Use your calculator wisely.
  • Solve the problem.
  • Locate your solution among the answer choices.
  • Make sure you answer the question asked.
  • Make sure your answer is reasonable.
  • Check your work.

Take a sample test

English Test Tip

Read the sentence and the paragraph carefully. On the Reading test, the three stage method of previewing, reading and reviewing is useful. Pay more attention to the big ideas and not the minute details in the passage. Be aware of how the ideas connect and take notes as you read along so you can quickly find the answers.

ACT English Test contains 75 questions to be answered in 45 minutes.

  • Be aware of the writing style used in each passage.
  • Consider the elements of writing that are included in each underlined portion of the passage. Some questions will ask you to base your decision on some specific element of writing, such as the tone or emphasis the text should convey.
  • Be aware of questions with no underlined portions—that means you will be asked about a section of the passage or about the passage as a whole.
  • Examine each answer choice and determine how it differs from the others. Many of the questions in the test will involve more than one aspect of writing.
  • Determine the best answer. Read and consider all of the answer choices before you choose the one that best responds to the question.

Take a sample test