Tag Archives: ACT

Learning the unit circle for the ACT

unit circleOn a handful of ACT math tests, I’ve seen a unit circle question which requires outside knowledge of the coordinates around the circle. I had heard that there is a “hand trick” out there that students can use to recall those coordinates as you climb up and back down around the circle. Today I found a great blog post from “Mrs. B”. Check it out! http://highschoolmathadventures.blogspot.com/2013/08/Unit-Circle-Hand-Trick.html


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Question from a student: how should I work on the four ACT reading passages?

If this is your first practice test, read the passages to get a feel for them.  Then you should try this strategy:

Divide your plan into into non-fiction and fiction/humanities-memoir strategies. The first passage is always fiction, so you will read the passage until you understand the conflict, then go right to the questions.

The last three passages are nonfiction: social studies, humanities and science. You can skip the reading and go right to the questions. The only exception is when the humanities is a memoir- then you treat it like fiction.

This skipping method will help you finish each passage within 8.5 minutes and still give you time to go back and confirm your answers!

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An ACT/SAT Test Day To-do List

bring a snack!

bring a snack!

1. Get at least two nights’ sleep of eight hours to feel well-rested. If you try to go to bed *too* early, you make wake up too early. But make sure you don’t stay up late. This will be more helpful to you on this challenge to your mental endurance than cramming will be.

2. Eat breakfast, and don’t stray from your usual menu. This isn’t the day to have a big stack of pancakes when you’ve been eating cereal and juice everyday. Even though the test is a few hours, eating extra food in the morning will make you sleepy. Cereal, fruit, toast, and yogurt are all good choices. Then…

3. Bring a snack. Nuts, granola bars, a banana, some water… these are light foods that will keep your body happy.

4. Dress in layers so that you can cool down or warm up if necessary.

5. Make sure you have your calculator, (with extra batteries) and sharpened pencils.  Have a photo ID; check this site for more info: http://sat.collegeboard.org/register/id-requirements

6. Get your body’s circulation going through exercise or active yoga. Just 20 minutes should work to bring you out of sleep mode. During the test, don’t slouch over and lean your head on your hand; your brain will start switching to sleep mode again.

7. Keep a positive attitude!  You need to get into “attack” mode and draw up all the techniques and resources that you have prepared.  Plan strategies as you go from easy to hard and don’t forget process of elimination.

Good luck!


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