Tip for timing on the ACT | Summit Prep

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 and science, when to read/skim/skip the science reading passages, 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. Unfortunately for me, I do not benefit from the sale of these watches, but I do enjoy seeing my students do better. To that end, I strongly recommend that every parent purchases one of these watches for their children. The watches have 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, half way 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. (The Reading section is broken down into 4 passages, so the watch breaks the timed segments into 4 as well. And the Science section is 40 questions, so the segments are broken down into 10 questions each on the watch.) 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 almost all students, whether they are trying to increase by one point or ten.

Link to the ACT watch: http://www.testingtimers.com/wc-shop/  (It can also be bought on Amazon with Prime shipping.)




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