On the math section, you only get a minute per question.

On the other sections of the ACT®, you get even less than that. (About 35 seconds for each English question, and about 50 seconds per question for the other two sections.)

You’d think that having superhuman reading speed is the only way to improve your overall score, but there’s a bit more to it than that.

Knowing how you test means understanding your process and improving your overall approach.

Turns out, there are five good ways to raise your ACT® composite score.

5 Steps to Take Now to Raise Your Composite ACT® Test Score

1) Identify your strengths (and weaknesses)

Knowing your strengths is important.

Let’s say you’re great at reading charts and graphs. You’ll be able to answer those questions with confidence.

Knowing your weaknesses is also important.

Let’s say you don’t always take the time to find out what the question is asking. So you often give a right answer, just not the answer to this particular question.

Making your strengths and weaknesses work together is the key to success.

Taking an extra six seconds to confirm that you’ve correctly identified what the question is asking, for example, means that you’ll be able to answer that chart question with supreme confidence.

You can’t figure out your strengths and weaknesses on the basis of just one ACT® practice test, so practice regularly to build up data about yourself as a test taker.

2) Attend instructor-led reviews

During an instructor-led test review at KD College Prep, two things should happen.

  • You should get the answers to the questions you missed
  • You should understand why you missed the questions

But from there, it’s up to you. It’s your job to examine your missed questions for patterns. Find out if you consistently miss inference questions or if (like most humans) you have a tendency to put commas where they don’t belong.

By seeing what mistakes you make the most, you’ll learn to recognize those question types and hone your approach.

The review should provide you with feedback for how to answer the questions correctly. Instructors are just full to the brim with reminders, advice, and tips about how to work quickly and efficiently on the ACT® test.

Test reviews give you reinforcement for the helpful test taking strategies that you learned in class so that the next time you test—whether that’s another practice test or the official test—you’ll be able to apply the techniques.

3) Raise your reading speed

Reading speed doesn’t just mean getting through more words in a shorter amount of time.

It means being able to know where you should read.

Taking Practice ACT® Tests

Taking practice tests will really, truly help raise your reading speed through familiarity and experience.

It’ll help you learn localized reading, meaning it’ll raise your chances of reading in the spot where there’s a correct answer.

Process of Elimination

Most of your reading focus should be spent on the questions themselves. (You don’t get points for reading the passages, only for answering questions.)

Using the process of elimination for answer choices will save you from so much needless reading. It’ll make you faster overall as you can be selective about where you focus your reading attention.

4) Study with precision

You can’t necessarily study “the whole ACT® test” because you can’t anticipate the specific questions you’ll get, but you can study two things that will help raise your math and verbal scores.


Learn your math formulas. All of them. By heart.

Memorizing math formulas will absolutely make you faster on test day. Also keep in mind that they aren’t provided for you on the test day, either.


The ACT® test isn’t a vocabulary test per se, but you need to understand high-level vocabulary to decipher most of the reading passages and the questions.

Banal, clement, pensive, egalitarian–words like these are sprinkled throughout every test, so get to know them.

5) Ask for help

While having superhuman speed when taking the ACT® test doesn’t hurt, that’s not the only way to reach your goal.

KD College Prep offers specialized test prep programs to help your student improve his or her ACT® test scores.

We’ll help you answer the following questions and come up with a plan.

  • Do you really need to take the ACT® test?
  • What’s your score now?
  • What’s your target score?
  • How much time do you have to get from one to the other?

Our directors can meet with you to discuss how to optimize your class and study time to give you the best chance of success during a free test prep consultation.

Contact a campus near you to get started.