Hey, hey, fellow students! Who among you needs some pointers about taking your ACT test?

The ACT is a timed test with four sections: English, math, reading and science. There’s an optional fifth section for writing.

The English section consists of 75 multiple-choice questions with 45 minutes to complete, and the math section has 60 multiple-choice questions with a 60-minute limit. Both the reading and science sections have 40 questions, with 35 minutes to answer each portion. For the optional essay, you have 40 minutes to write it and, if your writing skills are in top shape, choosing to do the writing section may help your score.

This test pushes all of what you’ve learned, and it matters a lot in both scholarships and applying for colleges. Lucky for you, I have tips!

For starters, it’s best to first try to take the entire test during spring of your junior year, then look at doing it again in the summer and August or September when you are a senior. Taking the test more than once and studying more each time will help you understand it better.

The first time will probably serve as a practice. So, the next two chances you have, try to nail down your prepping. This will also give you the chance to not rush into it because you need those scores for scholarships and college applications that start opening in October.

Online, you can see the available testing dates, which are usually once a month. The sooner you sign up for a date, the closer the location of the testing area will be to you, because the available spots tend to fill up fast.

The night before the test, get a good night’s sleep, and do not stay up late worrying. Overthinking will cause a headache and will not benefit you in any way.

On the morning of your ACT, wake up two hours prior and have some time to shower, eat. No, not just a bite of cereal. Something like an egg sandwich with a smoothie or some oatmeal with apples and milk to get your brain going.

On the way there, listen to some of your own hype music to get you going! You’ll be surprised how music can switch up your mood.

Be sure to have a stopwatch, because smartwatches, phones, and Fitbits are not permitted during the test. You must also turn off your devices, because if any of your devices even vibrates you will be dismissed and your test will not be scored.

You will also have to take several No. 2 pencils to have for yourself and to lend to others who may need one.

Also, don’t forget your calculator and your administration ticket that you printed out from when you signed up for the test.

Another thing kids forget (including me) is to wear comfortable clothes. Yes, you could look nice but you’re sitting in a desk for quite some time, so focusing on the test is your No. 1 priority. Wear sweats, or track/basketball shorts, T-shirt and comfy shoes.

Bring some water and snacks like a granola bar or trail mix to help you not get too hungry.

Finally, never leave a question unanswered. Let’s say you still have five questions left when the administrator announces the 5-minute warning. Skim over them and immediately fill in bubbles. Then, if you have a minute or two left, take a good look over them and see which one you know the answer to. It’s better to have at least something down rather than nothing, because this increases your chances of getting it right.

After you’re done, go head somewhere to have a bite and congratulate yourself for pulling through!

Good luck to all!

Jessica McDonald is a senior at Zillah High School.