Do you have specific strategies when taking timed tests such as the ACT or SAT?

Question:I have taken the ACT only once, and even though it's easier than the SAT (which I havent taken), the time issue brought me down...just thinking about how much time I had left made me lose my concentration and therefore, made me lose more time.

For instance, in the Reading section, do you read the whole and terribly long passage or just answer while reading??
I didnt know what to do, I was just so nervous, and plus I didnt get any practice before the test (my bad :)

I got a 19 composite score (30 is max)...and I desperately need a 26!!! I have a few more chances to take it now in my senior year, but if you could give me some strategies I'd really appreciate it...

Actually the max score is 36. But to improve your score, don't panic about the time. Just get through the questions as quickly as possible and if a question is too hard, skip it (and go back to it later) so that you can answer all the easy questions correctly. I agree with the others - read the questions first before the passage so you know what you're looking for. That way you won't have to reread the passage at all.
And you said you didn't practice beforehand so you should definitely take a timed practice test before you take the ACT again. Just get a prep book (like the Real ACT Prep Book or Kaplan) and time yourself. That way you will know what to expect and how to pace yourself.
Last tip: if you don't make it through all the questions and there are like 10 seconds left, just guess on the last few because then at least you have a chance of getting them right and there is no penalty for guessing on the ACT.
there are certain strategies to that.. like they make the questions in a specific order so that if you do this and this, you will find the answer by the time you finish doing this.

i would seriously get some strategy guides/ prep books. there are way too many strategies out there to help. even like princeton review, barrons, kaplan, basic ones are helpful.
During the reading section, read the questions first, to determine what information you will need to focus on before you start reading the passage. After a quick once-over of the questions, begin reading the passage, referring back to answer questions from time to time.

The worst thing you can do during a test is to get nervous. Remember, a test is a "picture" of your academic abilities. If it were taken on a different day, under different circumstances, you might score differently. Don't place too much pressure on yourself. You will do your personal best when you allow yourself to realize that whatever you do will be a reflection of your best possible performance on that day.

Other test-taking strategies:

1. Read all options for a multiple-choice question before choosing the BEST one. Remember, you are choosing the BEST possible answer given. It may not be the answer that you think is "right", but it will be the best choice among the ones given.

2. On written essay responses, make sure that you proofread for spelling and grammar. You are being assessed on content and usage.

3. Pace yourself. Expect to spend about 1-2 minutes per question. If you get stumped on a single question, skip it, and come back to it at the end of that section. Just mark the answer sheet, so that you don't mess up the sequence of your answers.

4. Don't cram for the SAT or ACT (or any other standardized tests like these). These tests are not meant to assess your strengths with any particular content, but to determine how well you comprehend and work with ideas. You will be using the same skills that you use every day when learning new material in school.

Good luck on your tests.
When I take reading comprehension tests, I always read the questions first then go back into the passage to look for the answers. I also circle the answers in the test booklet and go back and fill in the bubble sheet to save time.

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