Mastering the ACT: A Chess Player’s Guide

Knowing Your OpeningsKnowing what to expect in the first 10 moves is an easy way to set yourself up for success and gain an advantage over your opponent. You can win easy points quickly when you know what to expect in the first 10 questions of the ACT.Taking time to review Pre-algebra concepts, including fractions, can set you up in a winning position.
Time Management – Time is a valuable asset in chess and being able to make easier moves quickly saves time for those positions that require calculating. The ACT is designed to give a time advantage to students who can get through problems without a calculator. With only 60 seconds per question on an ACT, finding shortcuts through problems gives test takers more time to focus on the harder questions at the end of the test.
Middle Game Mastery – The battle intensifies in the middle game. Studying tactic puzzles allows the prepared player to stay on the attack and find combinations, forks, and pins to maintain pressure on opponents. The middle section of the ACT presents challenges that require proactive problem-solving skills and adaptability. This section typically contains a mix of question types, from algebra and geometry to reading comprehension and data analysis. Practicing diverse problem-solving techniques is essential for success.
Maintaining Composure – In the midst of a chess match, remaining calm under pressure is vital for making sound decisions.A small mistake against a strong player can cause feelings of stress and undermine confidence. The experienced chess player knows how to keep calm under pressure and think rationally. Students are put under a lot of pressure to succeed at standardized tests and knowing to keep a clear head can prevent losing points when they matter most.
Endgame Excellence – Your king defends a lone pawn, desperate to advance to the last rank while the enemy king approaches. Time is ticking down and moving the wrong piece can cause disaster. The last few questions on the ACT are often hard and written in a confusing manner. This is where those extra seconds saved should be used to ensure victory on the ACT.
Getting Help – Even the greatest chess players seek guidance and support to reach their full potential. Coaches provide personalized feedback, help identify weaknesses, and offer strategies for improvement. Likewise, seeking assistance for the ACT, whether through tutoring or online resources, can significantly enhance a student’s performance. From free practice tests to paid tutoring sessions, a wealth of resources is available to help students prepare effectively. Finding the right support system can make a difference in achieving success on test day.
My name is Darren. My dad taught me the basics of chess as a kid and I attended weekend chess programs through my elementary school. While I played in tournaments in middle and high school, I never practiced strategies. I just played whenever I found someone who wanted to play. In college, I was fortunate to make a good friend and he introduced me into a bigger world of chess. From tactics to tournaments, my friend helped me improve my game.
I started TutorMyMath because I did not succeed in math in High School and I did not have the confidence to believe I would be successful in any field that required math. That changed for me when, in college, studying became more collaborative and I learned I enjoy teaching as a way to learn. Now I do math for fun and write courses designed to improve numerical literacy skills at all ages, even for adults!
Darren is offering a FREE virtual test prep session open to all students planning to take the ACT or SAT. Register today at or call him with questions at 586 381 4594.

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