Grockit ACT® How-to Guide

Looking to make the most out of your study time? We’ve got what you need!

Your Practice tab offers four types of practice. For a score prediction, you can take section-specific diagnostics listed under Getting Started. Once you have completed the diagnostics, challenges of 10-12 questions each will appear at the bottom of the Practice page.

Smart Practice allows you to start answering questions immediately.

To study specific ACT® topics and difficulty levels launch Custom Practice:

  • Click “Customize difficulty and specific skills” to pick the difficulty setting and the content areas you’d like to study.

  • For solo practice, set the custom game “Player Limit” to 1; otherwise, others will be able to join.

  • You can play immediately or schedule the game for later

The Group Practice tab allows you to create Live Practice Sessions as well as schedule Upcoming Practice Sessions.  See one that you want to join? Hop right in or RSVP for later.

To check your GMAT progress, click on the Skill Data tab. Simply check the boxes next to categories you want to work on and choose “Review Selected” at the bottom of the page.

Your Study Plan page highlights your top three Skills to Target for Improvement as well as Your Top Strengths.  Click on the different segments within each gray Study Plan bar to find clusters of skills you can tackle.

Now that you have a full run-down of Grockit ACT features, you can get your study on! If you haven’t completed them already, the Getting Started diagnostics are the place to start. Go get those points!

ACT® Prep Plan: Week 1 – Math

Get ready to raise your ACT® math score!

We’re starting with a foundational week in which we combine the ACT® Math recommended approach with a strategic focus on three key categories:

  • Algebra – 7 points
  • Ratios, Proportions, & Averages – 4 points
  • Number Properties – 2 points

After you watch the Week 1 instructional video, be sure to complete your ACT® math practice for this week. Options for Week 1 practice include:

Happy studying!


Dear Bob: Fears and Freezing Up

Test Prep Tips Tricks Strategies GMAT GRE LSAT

Dear Bob: I feel very good in class and doing my homework. But every time I take a timed quiz or full-length test I freeze up. This is frustrating to me because I know my stuff, but I feel like I’m being judged, and I know that’s crazy because no one sees my results but still. How can I get over this unnatural but very real fear? — Janelle

Dear Janelle — Here’s the best way. Research has conclusively confirmed that the taking of a test is not just an opportunity to be assessed or assess oneself. It actually is a great way to learn. (An even better way, you will be interested to note, than reading or practicing, or anything most of us lump under the rubric of “studying.”)

When you take a test, you are forced to pull up information and procedures from your long-term memory, to get it into what’s called working- or short-term memory so as to answer questions and keep the pace up. Reading or “studying” forces no such effortful retrieval. Hence, rereading a chapter or consulting one’s notes is useful only to those who have no foundation or who lack skill in a particular area. By your own admission, that’s not you.

If you were my student, which in a sense you are, I would tell you to test your buns off. But I first urge you to keep telling yourself: “When I take a test, I’m learning. This isn’t judgment. It’s a REAL chance to learn!” And P.S., the better you feel about a topic, the more you should test yourself. And test. And test again. Always get feedback, of course, because it’s testing + post-test feedback that does the most for learning. All best wishes, Bob

What’s a Good ACT® Score?

ACT Score Competitive Good ACT Composite English Science Math Reading

Not sure what a ‘good’ ACT® score is? Have no fear! Your Grockit experts are here! When setting your ACT® score goal, it’s always a good idea to look at the score averages for the schools to which you’re applying. There are helpful college profiles that include information about average scores, total enrollment, tuition, and financial aid. As you browse your college choices, you can keep the following in mind about your ACT® score:


Top Scores

These scores will put you in the top 10% of all test takers

ENGLISH: 29 – 36

MATH:  28 – 36

READING: 30 – 36

SCIENCE: 27 – 36

COMPOSITE: 28 – 36


Competitive Scores

These scores will put you in a highly competitive place in admissions (top 25% of all test takers)

ENGLISH: 24 – 28

MATH:  24 – 27

READING: 25 – 29

SCIENCE: 24 – 26

COMPOSITE: 24 – 27


Good Enough Scores

These scores put you ahead of the pack (50%+), but won’t be as advantageous when applying to highly competitive programs

ENGLISH: 20 – 23

MATH:  20 – 23

READING: 21 – 28

SCIENCE: 21 – 25

COMPOSITE: 20 – 26


Below Average Scores

These scores may be enough to get into a wide variety of college programs, but will be below average compared to the testing population

ENGLISH: 19 or lower

MATH:  19 or lower

READING: 20 or lower

SCIENCE: 20 or lower


Scoring Factors

The ACT® is scored on a 1 – 36 scale in each section in 1 point increments. The four multiple sections (English, Math, Reading, and Science) will all have scores provided separately. This relatively small scale means that small improvements in your score can make a big difference in your percentile ranking (sometimes, a one point increase in your score can boost your percentile ranking by 5 points).

Remember that on the ACT®, you are NOT penalized for wrong answers. Understanding the scoring and knowing how to approach each section is important part of doing your best on test day.

Other Factors

Keep in mind that your ACT® score does not stand alone. Whether or not you are admitted to a college program (and whether or not you receive scholarship money) depends on several factors. In addition to focusing on getting the best ACT® score possible, you should also work on obtaining the best GPA possible, writing a spectacular personal statement, taking a challenging course load, and rounding out your application with extra-curriculars.

Laura Aitcheson

Not sure where you stand on the ACT®? Get your ACT® section score in under 15 minutes.

Laura Aitcheson Grockit Expert

Looking to improve your ACT® score? Practice at Grockit for free and see how you’d handle a wide variety of ACT® questions.





Top 5 Tips for Multiple-choice Success on the GRE®

Looking to apply to graduate school and get your master’s degree to further your career?  An important component of your application is your score on the GRE® test. Practicing for tests should always involve learning strategies specific to that test. The GRE® has some twists to the multiple-choice section that you should be aware of as you study for and then take the GRE® test.

1. Identify the type of multiple-choice question.

The GRE® has some typical multiple-choice questions with five answer choices and one correct answer.  However, there will also be questions with more than one right answer.  The quickest way to distinguish between these two question types is to look at the letters of the answer choices.  If they are inside a circle, there is one correct answer.  If they are inside a square, there could be more than one correct answer choice.  However, still pay attention to the directions because sentence equivalence questions have exactly 2 right answers, while other squared answer choice questions could have 1 correct answer choice or up to several correct choices.  Familiarity with the different question types and directions through lots of practice is the sure-fire way to avoid missing questions because of marking the wrong number of answer choices.

Read more

7 Tips for a Perfect GRE Argument Essay

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Laura Aitcheson

Are you ready to wow colleges with your impressive writing and reasoning skills? A perfect score on the GRE Argument Essay (a 6) is a great way to increase your graduate school admissions chances! Here are 7 tips to take your Argument essay to that perfect score.

Laura AitchesonGRE Expert

[Related: What is a good GRE score? Our experts help you understand what separates the best from the rest.]

  • Write at least three practice essays.

    There are a few different ways ETS may present the argument, so you want to practice at least three essays to fully prepare yourself. Peer reviews are especially valuable, so ask a friend or colleague for feedback after you complete each essay. You can find official Argument essay prompts here.

  • Point out false generalizations, inadequate evidence, and misleading surveys or statistics.

    The argument presented will ALWAYS have flaws. Look for sweeping statements and faulty conclusions. If data is provided, you can be sure that it is not 100% sound, which you can certainly use to your advantage!

  • Discuss 2-3 specific assumptions that the author makes.

    There may be more than 3 assumptions that the author makes, but you want to take the time to fully discuss 2-3 rather than simply listing out all of the problems you’ve discovered.

  • Provide alternative explanations to the presented argument.

    One of the most compelling ways to undermine an argument is to provide alternative explanations for the assumptions presented. If there are other possibilities that the author didn’t discuss, the argument is fallible.

  • Avoid first-person and self-reference.

    There is no need to include phrases like “I think” or “I believe” since the essay is written from you perspective. As a rule, you do not want to use “I” in your introductory or concluding paragraph.

  • Make strong, declarative statements.

    Be forceful with your language. You want to convey confidence that you have found flaws within the presented argument.

  • Provide specific recommendations for changes that would strengthen the argument.

    Many GRE students find that writing the concluding paragraph can be one of the most challenging parts of the essay. Use the concluding paragraph as an opportunity to point out that the argument could be strengthened if additional data were provided. Be sure to state what specific information would need to be included to bolster the argument.

Unsure what to study next? Get free GRE Practice. Grockit’s practice is adaptive, constantly adjusting with each question you answer.



Ask Bob: How to Decide What to Study

Test Prep Tips Tricks Strategies GMAT GRE LSAT
Dear Bob: “I am studying for the _____ exam and my problem might sound really basic or even stupid: I sit down for a session and I get stumped as to what I should be working on. There’s so much material. How do I make the decision about what to spend the next two hours on?” — Basically Confused

Dear Basically (and everyone else reading this),

I omitted the test name because the problem arises for all students, and the answer is the same for all topics:

You have to know what you know and what you don’t. Not “have a gut feeling about.” You have to KNOW.

Most people’s “Judgments of Learning” (JOLs for short) are faulty. That’s why they spend too much time on stuff they know cold, and not enough time (or NO time) on what they really need. That’s also why they take a test and go: “How could I have bombed that? I thought I knew my stuff.”

One way to improve your JOLs: Make flash cards for all the concepts, formulas, terms, methods you need to know. Run through them and give yourself a grade on an A-F scale for each. Example: The card reads “The Kaplan Method for X.” If you rattle off the steps perfectly, you get an A and don’t need to study that Method for a while. But if you stumble, you get a C; if you’re clueless, you get an F, and you KNOW that that’s something to study NOW.

I’ve got some more hints on making good JOLs. But try this one for now and let us know how it works for you. Best wishes, Bob V

Bob Verini has taught for Kaplan — as well as designing LSAT curriculum and providing admissions consulting advice — for 33 years as of this past September. His background is theater and English, both of which he’s found come in handy as he tries to make his lessons interesting (theater) and crystal clear (English). You can get to know him a little better by seeing his “Jeopardy!” clips on YouTube (He was a pretty successful champ back in the day). You can submit your questions to




Practice GRE Math Questions: 5-Question Challenge

free practice gre questions math grad school


If you’re just beginning your GRE prep, you’re probably wondering what is tested on the GRE. The GRE contains content from many different areas of math and verbal, and tests these topics using a handful of various question formats. While many questions on the GRE are multiple choice, questions can ask you to calculate a specific value, select multiple answers from among multiple choices, or compare items to determine which item has a greater value.

We’ve selected five questions to introduce you to the type of questions and content you’re likely to see on your GRE exam. If you’ve got 10 minutes or so, put yourself to the test and see how many of the following questions you can answer correctly. Once you’re finished, you can compare your answers with the answers and explanations provided.

GRE 5-Question Challenge

Before You Begin

Take a deep breath and clear your head. As you navigate the questions, write down your answers so that you can compare your results with our expert explanations provided at the end.

Don’t worry, this is just a chance to get introduced to the content. Once you’re ready to begin, use the arrows to navigate to the first question.

Question #1

1.  The value of    is:

A) 11/27

B) 4/9

C) 11/12

D) 28/27

E) 11/3

Question #2

2. If a and b are integers and the sum of ab and is odd, which of the following could be true?

Select all that apply

A) and b are both odd.

B) is even and b is odd.

C) a is odd and b is even.

Question #3

3. In how many of the years shown after 1990 did the sum of the profits of companies A and B increase over the previous year?

A) 1

B) 2

C) 3

D) 4

E) 5

Question #4

Compare the quantities in Column A and Column B and select the appropriate answer.

4. Cylinder A has twice the radius but half the height of Cylinder B

Column A                                      Column B
The volume of Cylinder A             The volume of Cylinder B

A) if the quantity in Column A is greater;

B) if the quantity in Column B is greater;

C) if the two quantities are equal;

D) if the relationship cannot be determined from the information given.

Question #5

A junior soccer league consists of 12 teams. Each team will play every other team exactly three times during the season. Calculate the total number of games that will be played during the season.

Enter the exact answer unless the question asks you to round your answer.

Answers and Explanations


1. D

2. B

3. E

4. A

5. 198


1. It is best to simplify each stem first before making the calculation.  We want to get both stems to have LCD, so the LCD of the firs is 9.
The first stem reduces to (9/9 - 5/9) =  4/9  The second stem reduces to 6/3 - 1/3 = 7/3.  Multiplying them together yields 4/9* 7/3 which equals 28/27, so the answer is D.

2. With variables in the question stem and answer choices, let’s use Picking Numbers to test each choice.

(A) If b = 3, b = 3 + 3 = 6. This is not odd, so eliminate.

(B) If b = 3, b = 6 + 3 = 9. This is odd.

(C) If b = 2, b = 2 + 2 = 4. This is not odd, so eliminate.

The correct answer is Choice (B).

3. In 1990, the profits of Company A were approximately 12,000,000 dollars and the profits of Company B were approximately 20,000,000. The sum of the profits of both companies in 1990 was approximately 20,000,000 + 12,000,000 = 32,000,000 dollars. In 1991, the profits of Company A were approximately 28,000,000 dollars and the profits of Company B were approximately 16,000,000. The sum of the profits of both companies in 1991 was approximately 28,000,000 + 16,000,000 = 44,000,000 dollars. In 1992, the profits of Company A were approximately 41,000,000 dollars and the profits of Company B were approximately 34,000,000. The sum of the profits of both companies in 1992 was approximately 41,000,000 + 34,000,000 = 75,000,000 dollars. In 1993, the profits of Company A were approximately 51,000,000 dollars and the profits of Company B were approximately 30,000,000. The sum of the profits of both companies in 1993 was approximately 51,000,000 + 30,000,000 = 81,000,000 dollars. In 1994, the profits of Company A were approximately 32,000,000 dollars and the profits of Company B were approximately 56,000,000 dollars. The sum of the profits of both companies in 1994 was approximately 32,000,000 + 56,000,000 = 88,000,000 dollars. In 1995, the profits of Company A were approximately 61,000,000 dollars and the profits of Company B were approximately 50,000,000 dollars. The sum of the profits of both companies in 1995 was approximately 50,000,000 + 61,000,000 = 111,000,000 dollars.

Thus, the approximate sums of the profits in the years, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, and 1995, in millions, were, respectively, 32, 44, 75, 81, 88, and 111. In each of the 5 years 1991 through 1995 inclusive, the sum of the profits increased over the previous year. Choice (E) is correct.

4. The equation for the volume of a right cylinder is: area of base x height = πr^2 x If Cylinder B has radius r and height h, then Cylinder has radius 2r and height 1/2h. 

 The volume of Cylinder B is V(B) = πr^2 x h
The volume of Cylinder A is V(A) = π(2r)^2 x (1/2)h  =  π(4r^2)(1/2h)  =  2πr^2 x h
Cylinder B’s volume is πr^2Cylinder A’s volume is 2πr^2 h. Cylinder A has twice the volume of Cylinder B and is therefore greater.

5. In order to find the answer to this question, we could manually list and count all of the possibilities, but it may be quicker to use the combination formula. In this case, order does not matter, so we use a combination rather than a permutation. This gives us:

which simplifies to:

(12 x 11)/2 = 66

Since each team plays every other team three times, we must multiply this result by 3. We then get 198.

How many did you answer correctly? Were there concepts you’ve forgotten since your last math class? Getting a good GRE score depends on understanding Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry and more. For more practice in these areas, sign up now to practice more than 1,700 questions on Grockit’s adaptive platform.


The Night Before the GRE® How-to Guide

It’s the night before the GRE® and you may be tempted to make a list of all the things you feel like you should have done before now. Not only would such a list be counterproductive, but also it is unnecessary. Our easy-to-follow, confidence-boosting tips are your go-to for pre-test jitters. Read through our recommendations, take a few deep breaths, and concentrate on the party you’ll throw when the test is over. You’ve got this!

The night before your exam, you should NOT: 

1. Try to learn topics you haven’t yet mastered. There’s no use in cramming.

2. Go to a local bar with friends and try to drink away your worries.

3. Panic.

4. Stay up all night trying to memorize every detail about the GRE® ever.


1. Briefly review the topics that you’ve mastered but haven’t looked at in a while.

2. Set your alarm(s).

3. Get a good night’s sleep.

The day of the exam you should: 

1. Eat a nutritious breakfast and read something to wake up your brain.

2. Make sure you know where the testing center is and allow plenty of time to get there early.

3. Use the time before the exam begins to relax, take deep breaths, and get acclimated to your surroundings.

4. Expect a lot of paperwork before the exam begins. Don’t let it distract you.

5. Bring a good luck charm.

That last one is my own personal tip. I had a good luck charm on test day — a plastic Shrek watch that I found in my cereal box on the morning of my exam. I used it to remember all of the positive things I had done to prepare and put faith in my skills. It worked.

What other tips do you have? What’s your good luck charm?  – Ethan

ACT® Essay Template and Sample

The ACT® essay is a great way to wow universities with your college-ready writing skills. While you can’t be sure what the essay will ask about ahead of time, you can use the same general structure for every ACT® essay!

The following provides helpful suggestions for writing your essay. You do not need to copy this approach exactly; think of it as an extremely useful framework.

ACT® Essay Template:

1st paragraph = 4 sentences
1. Hook (a question or statement that grabs the reader’s attention)
2. Restate the first point of view.
3. Restate the opposition.
4. State your thesis AND include the type of examples you will use.
2nd paragraph = at least 5 sentences
1. Introduction with a transition
2 – 4. Details about your example
5. A sentence that states how your example SPECIFICALLY supports your thesis
3rd paragraph = at least 5 sentences
1. Introduction to your example with a transition
2 – 4. Details about your example
5. A sentence that states how your example SPECIFICALLY supports your thesis
4th paragraph = at least 5 sentences
1. Introduction with a transition & an acknowledgement of the opposition
2 – 4. Details about your example
5. A sentence that states how your example SPECIFICALLY supports your thesis
OPTIONAL paragraph (helpful for scoring a 10 or above)
1. Introduction with a transition & an acknowledgement of the opposition
2 – 4. Details about your example
5. A sentence that states how your example SPECIFICALLY supports your thesis
Conclusion paragraph = 2 sentences
1. Use a concluding transition word, mention the examples you used and state that they clearly support your thesis
2. A Zinger (just like a hook, except it is used at the last sentence of the entire essay)
Sample prompt (from
Educators debate extending high school to five years because of increasing demands on students from employers and colleges to participate in extracurricular activities and community service in addition to having high grades. Some educators support extending high school to five years because they think students need more time to achieve all that is expected of them. Other educators do not support extending high school to five years because they think students would lose interest in school and attendance would drop in the fifth year. In your opinion, should high school be extended to five years? Read more