I think that’s… possible, anyway, if you're committed to doing it! I did raise my score 9 points in two years, I think, but it wasn’t from sophomore to senior (I started taking the ACT way early) so I don’t know. A lot of it depends on you: how much did you study before you got the 23? You have a better chance if that was having studied none at all, because you can only go up with study. And was that the first time you took it? People generally do better with a second testing naturally, because they’re more accustomed to the test setup and know what to expect.
Get a review book or two—check out your local library or go to a bookstore to flip through them. Different things work for different people, so there really is no “best” book. Take as many practice tests as you can, they really do help!
For the math, use a practice test to tell you what you specifically need help on, and find review information for those specific areas. What math level are you in?—my math score jumped considerably after I’d completed Geometry and had some of Algebra II; pre-Calc isn’t as helpful for the ACT, but you’ll need some trigonometry. A large part of doing well is just knowing the right KIND of math, since the test covers very specific areas in math and ways of solving problems. More than any other part of the ACT, the math section is something you’ll get better at consistently the more you practice! Work a few math problems every day, even if you do nothing else on that day to study—it’ll keep you thinking the way you need to for the math section.
The best way to improve your English and Reading scores is, simply, to READ! Start reading the type of higher-level novels that you read in school: The Scarlet Letter, 1984, Crime and Punishment, any of the “classics” have the more complex grammar and syntax that you’ll need to be familiar with for the ACT. The Reading section seems to be a test of speed more than anything, and your reading speed will improve the more you read as well. The Science Reasoning also has a large component of reading comprehension, so you might try finding scientific-type articles or nonfiction to read for practice. Make sure you understand at all times what you’ve read. For instance, right now I’m reading _How to Do Things With Words_ by J. L. Austin for one of my classes, and I keep having to stop and figure out what the heck he’s saying, lol: “The uttering of the words is, indeed, usually a, or even /the/, leading incident in the performance of the act (of betting or whatnot), the performance of which is also the object of the utterance, but it is far from being usually, even if it is ever, the /sole/ thing necessary if the act is to be deemed to have been performed.” A grammatically complete sentence, with interjections and an overuse of qualifiers—and if you can puzzle through a whole book of such sentences, it does WONDERS for your reading comprehension! Especially seeing as you often find yourself having to read things you totally don’t care about on the ACT, lol.
You can also improve your grammar by just studying grammar; find a review book with grammar rules in it. Pay special attention to subject-verb agreement—they seem to like to test that, since it’s going by the wayside in spoken English. A GREAT way to improve your grammar is to consistently use proper grammar when you speak and write. Actively think about your grammar as you speak! The ACT also tests punctuation and sometimes that can get tricky (I personally tend to overuse commas and dashes, lol) so make sure you’re familiar with the precise rules.
Science reasoning is hard to call—I only did really well on it when I happened to get several Chemistry-related passages while I was actually in AP Chem. Some of it tests just basic science knowledge, so get a review book with some science review. The rest of it is being able to read and understand the information they give you. Really, just practice, practice, practice!
General tips on test taking:
Always make sure you know exactly what you need to take: pencils with good erasers, a good calculator (I swear by my TI-83 Plus), your ID, and your admission ticket. The more prepared you FEEL, the better you'll do.
TAKE FOOD! The first few times I took the ACT I was starving by the end. You have a break in the middle of the test during which you can eat. Take chewing gum or hard candy, too. I’m not sure if it’s true that gum helps you concentrate or that mint aids thinking, but I’ve always liked having something to chew or suck on while taking tests.
Try not to be nervous. Anxiety is what kills a lot of people on these tests, so you need to convince yourself that you're well prepared for it. It sounds bizarre, but while you're taking the test, try to separate yourself from what you're doing a little bit and think about it objectively. It's just a test!
DON’T read the instructions at the beginning of each section! I promise they don’t say anything important beyond what the proctor of the test will have already said, and you need that time.
Skim the questions before reading the passages on the Reading section, because then you’ll know sort of what you’re looking for, and you won’t have to spend as much time re-reading to find the answers. But do actually read the passages; some people try to just read the questions then search for the answers, and that can lose valuable points with the trick answers they throw in there.
Figures in the math section, generally speaking, are drawn to scale (or at least proportionally) even when they tell you they’re not. So if you can guess at and measure angles and relative lengths, if you need to, that can be close enough to get you an answer.
What I always did, though it may not help everyone: start each section at the end. First, this gives you a very tangible goal; you might forget how many questions are in a section, but if start and the end you’re counting down, and you always know exactly how many questions you have left. Second, especially in the math section, it’s been proven that the harder questions are at the end, so doing the test backwards gets the hard ones out of the way, and you can GAIN confidence while you’re working, rather than losing it as you get to the harder ones.
And the basics: eliminate wrong choices. It helps some people to physically mark through the obviously wrong choices in narrowing down the answers. On the math questions, it’s sometimes faster to just plug in the answers to see which one’s right than to actually work through the formulas. Sleep well the night before, and if you’re someone who needs time to wake up, get up a little early so you’re fully awake by test time.
Just keep trying! Take practice tests, and don’t be afraid to take the ACT as many times as you need to to get the score you want! A lot of doing well on the ACT is just KNOWING the test, so get as familiar with is as possible. And MIT, especially, will be looking at things besides your test scores—make sure you keep your grades up, take the more challenging classes if you can, and get a good list of extracurricular activities going—you’ll definitely have a shot, even if you don’t quite make 34!
Good luck! :)
There are two ways to do this.
One is to go to MIT (Free online Opencourseware)
The other is to idenrtify your week areas and go to learner dot org and watch the classes that apply.
Do your homework and any extra credit given at school because nothing gets you inyo MIT quite like good grades.
Tell each teacher you have that you are wanting to go to MIT and ask them to tell you what is needed to get an A in their class. Then do whatever they say. (within the law)
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