3 things the Grateful Dead can teach you about taking the ACT

The music and lyrics of the Grateful Dead are an endless blossom of practical wisdom. Love 'em, hate 'em, or never heard of 'em... here's three things the Dead can teach you about taking the ACT:

1. “Strategy is Strength…” 

Have a game plan in terms of your approach to all three sections, and STICK TO IT WHEN THE STRESS HITS

Just a few examples of many...:

If you know you hate reading fiction, stick to your guns and skip it when it’s time to personalize the order in which you attack the reading. 

If you're annoyed or confused by grammar questions that ask you to re-arrange sentences or paragraphs, don’t get sucked into them. Know your strengths and weaknesses, strategize and execute accordingly. 

If long word problems in math hang you up, skip them early and go back... or guess.

If a science question demands that you coordinate information from multiple figures, charts or graphs...recognize this is more difficult and time consuming...skip or guess.



2. “Gotta try to see a little further…” 

Understand the math as a whole. Level of difficulty is arranged by question number. Generally speaking:

1 - 20 easy (I prefer the term "gettable")

21- 40 medium

41 - 60 difficult

Here’s a rough game plan to do well on roughly 75% of the exam, enough for a competitive score. 

Try to go as close for 20 right in the first 20 minutes as possible.

Then another 20 right in the next 20 minutes.

YOUR GOAL SHOULD BE FORTY IN FORTY. It's OK to work out of sequence to get there.

That leaves you 20 minutes to pick up a dozen questions to get over 50 right.

Remember: DO NOT LEAVE ANYTHING BLANK! THERE IS NO GUESSING PENALTY ON THE ACT or SAT. 

 

3. “You Better Get Back Truckin’ On…” 

If a question is too difficult or taking too long… guess and move on without hesitation. DON’T let it affect your mindset moving forward. Just because you've prioritized a particular passage doesn't mean you have to prioritize every question in that passage. Sometimes you have to give up the battle to win the war.

Like the Dead at their best, stay light on your feet. Have both a strong foundation and the comfort level to improvise in order to nail every gettable question you can find. 

As always, focus on accuracy over speed!  Be in the moment... allow your skill and practice to come to the surface.

Best of luck! Questions, comments or help here.

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