The ACT Watch

One of the most difficult aspects of taking the ACT is timing, particularly on the Reading and Science sections. In order to improve on these sections, students need a lot of practice (preferably from the real tests), the right strategies (skim for key terms on the reading section, when to read/skim/skip the experiment descriptions on the science section, etc), and a foundational knowledge of scientific principles. All of those take time. And we all love shortcuts. If only there was…

*Cue the red curtain parting to reveal a shining watch elevated on a gleaming glass stand*

The ACT watch

Most students benefit from using this watch (though not students who would then become overly fixated on their pacing — rare, but it can happen). The ACT watch has preset countdown timers for each ACT section, which would be reason enough to buy them (other stopwatches are banned on the ACT). If a proctor writes a start time of 11:37am and an end time of 12:12pm on the board for a 35 minute Reading section, it would be difficult for anyone to figure out when they should be a quarter of the way done, halfway done, etc. And students are already under enormous pressure from time, so doing any such calculation is simply impossible. Luckily, the stopwatch function counts down, so students always know how much time they have left, and, even better, the markers placed around the edge of the watch’s frame let students know where they should be in each section at any given time.

For example, the Reading section is broken down into 4 passages, so the watch breaks the total time for that section into 4 segments as well. The Science section is 40 questions, so the total time is broken into 4 segments of 10 questions each. Using the watch, students can glance down and immediately see if they are on pace to finish the section, if they can slow down to improve their accuracy, or if they need to pick up the pace.

Here is a screenshot of the Reading section on the watch (the dashes around the frame disappear according to how much time has passed):


It takes a lot of work to dramatically raise a student’s score. But this watch is an immediate help to most students, whether they are trying to increase by one point or ten.

Note: For students wondering if they are allowed to use this watch, the answer is “Yes.” If you’re nervous that a proctor will not let you use it (this has only happened once out of literally tens of thousands of tests that our students have taken), then you can also print or show the proctor this page. And you can also point the proctor to the ACT’s own website, which stipulates that acceptable electronic watches are allowed (and this is an acceptable electronic watch).

Screenshot 2023 08 30 174526 ACT Watch Summit Prep


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