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Monday, 30 September 2019

How to Dry Up a Wet Yard

No matter where you live, a hard rain can turn your yard into a mess of mud and water puddles that won’t dry. Wet yards happen for a number of reasons but usually stem from poor soil and drainage systems. To dry out the water, check your yard to find the source of the problem. For small, individual patches of moisture, dry your yard by leveling out the soil and possibly planting water-resistant plants. For large-scale problems, look into getting a drainage system like a French drain or dry well. With the proper treatment, you won’t need to worry about water runoff causing damage to your home.


[Edit]Finding the Cause of Moisture Damage

  1. Watch your yard after a storm to see where the water accumulates. Note how the water moves across your yard during the storm. Then, take a walk around your yard right after a solid day of rain. Look for mud and standing puddles that don’t dry out within a day. Find out if the problem happens in small, separate patches or one large area.[1]
    Dry Up a Wet Yard Step 1.jpg
    • Water is supposed to move downhill, away from your home, and into a drainage outlet. If you see standing puddles or water flowing back toward your home, then the yard’s slope could be to blame.
    • Individual spots are much easier to treat by filling them in, amending the soil, or growing absorbent plants.
  2. Search for leaks or other possible causes for the moisture buildup. Check the downspout coming off your roof as well as any nearby utility pipes. Leaky pipes sometimes cause small patches of moisture, including near buildings. Another possibility is that you have a natural spring that lets water come up to the surface.[2]
    Dry Up a Wet Yard Step 2.jpg
    • If you suspect a leak, try turning off your home’s water supply to see if your water meter continues to increase. For leaky municipal lines outside your home, test the water for chlorine and other treatment chemicals.
    • Springs often occur in hilly areas with clay soil. If you have one, consider preserving it. You could also drain it using a French pipe or another method.
  3. Test the soil to see if it’s capable of absorbing enough water. Clay soil absorbs water, which eventually turns into puddles. To perform a test, fill a mason jar full of soil from the problem area. Fill the jar up with water, then wait for the components to separate. Sand sinks to the bottom, followed by a layer of silt, then clay.[3]
    Dry Up a Wet Yard Step 3.jpg
    • Mark the level of sand after 1 minute, then mark the silt level after 2 hours. Mark the clay level after the water in the jar clears to begin measuring the proportion of each component in the soil.
    • Another way to test absorption is by digging a hole deep and wide. Fill it with water to see how quickly it drains. If it takes more than 4 hours the second time, then amend the soil with sand and compost.[4]
    • If your soil isn’t at the right composition, amend it by mixing in sand and compost.
  4. Aerate the soil to see if it can absorb water. Compaction is a very common problem in areas with lots of clay or foot traffic. If your yard can’t seem to retain water and you notice brown or thinning plants, get a core aerator or a gardening fork. While the soil is moist, use one of the tools to poke holes in the ground, spacing them about apart. Let your yard air out while you look for other causes behind the water problem.[5]
    Dry Up a Wet Yard Step 4.jpg
    • You can rent an aerator from most home improvement centers. An aerator is a machine that removes a plug of soil. The air that enters the holes loosens the soil to make it more absorbent.
  5. Consult a contractor if you suspect your yard is over water or bedrock. If you know your home is in a region that has a lot of bedrock or high groundwater, you won’t be able to fix the issue without assistance. Call up the nearest extension office or your local government's conservation department. Let them look up a regional survey map or come out to test the soil. Then, wait for them to give you advice or refer you to a qualified contractor.[6]
    Dry Up a Wet Yard Step 5.jpg
    • Another common problem in some parts of the world is marshland. You may not be able to drain marshland without government clearance first. It can also be tough to drain completely.
    • Usually, you need to either build a rain garden or install wells and drains to deal with these issues.

[Edit]Fixing Small Patches of Moisture

  1. Clear the wet areas of plants and debris. Pick up any noticeable rocks, sticks, and other loose material where the water tends to pool in your yard. To fix these areas, you will also need to get rid of all plants there, including grass. If you plan on saving these plants, dig carefully around them in a circle until you reach the bottom of their roots, then pry them out of the ground with a spade.[7]
    Dry Up a Wet Yard Step 6.jpg
    • If you don’t plan on saving the plants, you don’t have to be as cautious with them. You could cut larger plants to make them easier to remove. However, consider digging down to remove weed roots whole.
    • To remove sod, dig around the area using a spade, then use the spade to divide the sod into strips about wide. Pry up the edges of the strips to sever the roots, then roll them up by hand.
  2. Dig out any wet areas to prepare to fix them. Use a spade or another tool to make a hole about deep. The hole can be as wide as you need, so dig out the entire problem area. Remove all of the soil in the wet spot, setting it aside on dry ground nearby or in a wheelbarrow.[8]
    Dry Up a Wet Yard Step 7.jpg
    • If the soil is dry, rent a rototiller from a nearby home improvement store. Push it over the trouble spots to turn up the soil.
    • If large parts of your yard are wet, you are better off rototilling the entire yard or installing a drainage system. Fill in small spots that are uneven or easy to dig up by hand.
  3. Fill in the holes by adding a topsoil mixed with sand. Select a quality topsoil with a balanced amount of clay and sand. Then, get some construction-grade sand. Mix together 2 parts sand, 2 parts topsoil and 1 part compost. Then, combine the mixture with the original soil at the bottom of the hole. If your soil doesn’t absorb water very well, adding sand and compost can help loosen it.[9]
    Dry Up a Wet Yard Step 8.jpg
    • Mix the soil together using a spade or rototiller. When you’re done, fill in the rest of the hole as needed with more soil.
  4. Shape the soil to fill in holes and redirect water toward drainage areas. If the problematic spots were lower than the rest of your yard, filling in and flattening them often leads to better absorption. Slope the land as needed to force water to flow toward better drainage areas. A slope of about 2% is generally steep enough to force water away from the rest of your yard. Gradually change the slope by moving the soil around and raking it flat.[10]
    Dry Up a Wet Yard Step 9.jpg
    • A slope of 2% means the elevation of the soil changes by about over in distance. A steeper slope more easily redirects excess water.
    • Measure the slope of an area by planting stakes and running a string between them. Keep in mind that filling in and flattening out low points in your yard can
    • Dig soil from higher areas to move to lower ones. You may need to work on the rest of your yard as well to form an effective slope.
  5. Press down on the soil with a tamper tool. Get a tamper, which is a flat piece of metal that pushes soil down to compact it and level it out. Press down on the exposed soil until it blends in with the rest of your yard. Make sure it looks flat or forms a smooth slope capable of absorbing and redirecting water.[11]
    Dry Up a Wet Yard Step 10.jpg
    • Watering the lawn will also help compact the soil mixture. Use the moisture to check how well the sand and compost help solve the drainage issue.
  6. Cover the ground with water-absorbing plants if it is bare. Sod and grass seeds are some of the best ways to fix swampy areas in a yard. If you just finished amending an area with new topsoil, complete it with a fresh covering. Try unrolling sod over the bare area. If you’re filling in a grassy yard, spread grass seeds and rake them into the soil.[12]
    Dry Up a Wet Yard Step 11.jpg
    • Consider covering fresh grass seeds with a layer of topsoil followed by an equal layer of straw to protect them from birds.
    • If you’re looking for something different, get some moisture-resistant plants like ferns, phlox, violets, arrowwood, and elderberry. These plants can help dry out your yard even if the soil composition and grade aren’t a problem.

[Edit]Eliminating Widespread Moisture Problems

  1. Add compost if your yard doesn’t have a good soil consistency. Use an organic compost like leaf mulch, grass clippings, or even bark. If you have grass, spread the compost into a -thick layer. Rake it into the soil at least once a year, either in late fall or early spring. The organic material opens up the soil for better drainage while also promoting the growth of water-absorbing plants.[13]
    Dry Up a Wet Yard Step 12.jpg
    • As long as you don’t add too much compost, it won’t cover up grass and other existing plants in your yard. Many wet spots are already barren, so they will stay barren until you grow something, such as sod or grass.
    • You may need to wait a couple of seasons to see any change in the soil. The organic material needs time to break down and mix into the yard.
    • If your yard is in bad shape, consider renting a rototiller to mix compost about deep into the soil. Doing this will destroy a lawn but have a much more immediate effect on drainage.
    • Consider mixing sand or peat moss into the soil as well if you plan on rototilling the entire yard. It helps drain water from poor, clay-heavy soil.
  2. Make a French drain if you need to draw water away from the yard. A French drain isn’t as fancy as it sounds. It is little more than a perforated pipe in the ground. To start, dig a trench about wide and at least in your yard. Then, line the trench with landscape paper before, then set the pipe on top of it. Cover it with gravel, followed by topsoil to hide it.[14]
    Dry Up a Wet Yard Step 13.jpg
    • When the drainage pipe works correctly, water seeps through the fabric. The pipe then carries excess moisture away to a lower part of your yard.
    • The French pipe works best when it spans from the wet areas in your yard toward drainage spots like a storm drain or swale. A swale is a shallow ditch that may contain a drainage outlet.
    • Check online or at a home improvement store for a French drainage pipe. If you can’t find one, make one by poking plastic holes in a regular pipe.
  3. Construct a dry well to direct rainwater near buildings. For a dry well, you need to dig a hole about from the nearest drain or downspout in the wet portion of your yard. Fit it with a plastic dry well tank, then line the tank with landscape paper. Next, run a PVC pipe from the drainage pipe or downspout to the tank. Fill in the remaining space with gravel.[15]
    Dry Up a Wet Yard Step 14.jpg
    • Landscape paper releases water while preventing gravel from getting into the tank. It enables the tank to store water and gradually release it so your yard doesn’t get too wet.
    • Shop online or at local home improvement stores for the supplies you need.
  4. Install a cistern if you need to store water runoff from the roof. A cistern is very similar to a dry well, but it is usually used to redirect rainwater back into your home. Have a contractor dig a hole in your yard and then place the tank in it. The tank is usually made of material like concrete and cinder blocks. The water then can be rerouted to your home through PVC pipes fitted to the tank’s valve and pump.[16]
    Dry Up a Wet Yard Step 15.jpg
    • Another option is to get an above-ground cistern, which is just a big barrel to store water collected from smaller rain barrels.
    • A cistern is a great way to save money by repurposing rainwater. Use it wherever you don’t need clean drinking water, such as for laundry, toilets, or watering plants.
  5. Build a rain garden if you live in a rainy climate. Since you can’t stop heavy rainfall, let a garden handle the problem. You will need to remove existing plants and debris before shaping the soil into a raised area with a small ridge around it. Make sure your yard slopes toward the rain garden so excess water reaches the plants. Then, fill the garden with various moisture-tolerant plants.[17]
    Dry Up a Wet Yard Step 16.jpg
    • Keep hardy plants in the high-moisture areas, usually at the lowest points of the garden. Some options include goldenrod, elderberry, swamp rose, and blue vervain.
    • Place less moisture-tolerant plants in the other parts of the garden. Try using sage, daylilies, and lavender, among others.
    • Since changing a yard’s grade can get expensive, gardens are usually paired with systems like plastic drainage pipes or rock channels. Look into installing a French drain or swale.


  • When draining your yard, make sure you don’t direct water to your neighbor’s property unless you’re prepared to deal with the consequences. Drain it safely into a storm drain or downhill spot.
  • If you live near a hill, look out for water coming down the slope. A valley or drainage outlet at the bottom of the hill can help direct water away from your home.
  • Gravel is great for making soil more resistant to water, but keep in mind that it doesn’t break down as fast as organic material like compost. It is better for filling in areas where you never want water, such as near your home.
  • Extending the drain spout can help direct water further away from your home. Send the water toward a drainage outlet or an absorbent part of your yard.


  • Before doing any sort of construction or installation on your property, check your city’s regulations. You may need to apply for a building permit at city hall.

[Edit]Things You’ll Need

[Edit]Finding the Cause of Moisture Damage

  • Mason jar
  • Water
  • Aerator

[Edit]Fixing Small Patches of Moisture

  • Spade or shovel
  • Topsoil
  • Sand
  • Compost
  • Rake
  • Tamper
  • Grass or other absorbent plants

[Edit]Eliminating Widespread Moisture Problems

  • Spade or shovel
  • Rototiller
  • Compost
  • Landscape paper
  • French drain pipe (optional)
  • Dry well (optional)
  • Cistern (optional)
  • Rain garden plants (optional)


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How to Treat Bad Breath

Bad breath is an issue that everyone experiences from time to time. In most cases, it's nothing serious and can be cured by brushing your teeth or taking a breath mint. Certain lifestyle changes like smoking less, good oral hygiene, and improving your hydration can also clear up chronic bad breath. In a small number of cases halitosis, or chronic bad breath, is caused by serious medical issues including diabetes, respiratory tract or sinus infections, H. pylori, SIBO, or liver and kidney disease.[1] In these cases, you'll need to work with your doctor to treat the underlying condition causing your bad breath.


[Edit]Stopping Bad Breath Immediately

  1. Brush your teeth to clear up most cases of bad breath. Brushing your teeth will keep your mouth healthy and smelling great. Brush for at least 2 minutes each time, in order to remove odor-causing bacteria from your tongue and the inside of your mouth. Brush your teeth at least twice a day and also whenever you notice that your breath smells a little off.[2]
    Treat Bad Breath Step 1 Version 2.jpg
    • When brushing your teeth, don't forget to brush your tongue! Brushing your tongue cleans off old food and bacteria that may be causing the majority of the unpleasant smells coming from your mouth.
    • If you find that your bad breath persists after brushing and flossing, try using a tongue scraper after brushing your teeth in the morning and at night. Tongue scrapers remove tough food particles and bacteria from your tongue and improve the smell of your breath.[3] Purchase a tongue scraper at a local drugstore.
  2. Take a sugar-free breath mint to clear up bad breath within 30 seconds. If you're worried about bad breath during the day, carry some sugar-free mints around with you. If your breath needs freshening, pop one in! For the best effect and the freshest breath, use mints with a relatively mild scent like peppermint or wintermint.[4]
    Treat Bad Breath Step 2 Version 2.jpg
    • While breath mints and gum work quickly, they're only a temporary solution to having bad breath. After you've taken a breath mint, your bad breath may return within 30-60 minutes.
  3. Try chewing sugar-free gum to hydrate and freshen your mouth. Popping a piece of mint-flavored chewing gum into your mouth is a quick, easy way to improve and freshen up your breath for a few hours. The scent from the chewing gum masks unpleasant breath odors, and the chewing will also hydrate your mouth. This will, in effect, rinse off your tongue and sweep odor-causing bacteria down your throat.[5]
    Treat Bad Breath Step 3 Version 2.jpg
    • Since most people don't brush their teeth after chewing gum, opt for a sugar-free variety. Sugar-free gum will freshen up your breath just as well as sugar gum, but won't leave a sugary residue on your teeth for the rest of the day.
  4. Gargle a cap full of mouthwash to freshen your mouth. Mouthwash is a great way to quickly freshen up your mouth before you step out for a date, dinner, or a social event. Fill the cap of the mouthwash container with the liquid and gargle it for 20-30 seconds. Then spit it out and rinse out the mouthwash from your mouth with a mouthful of tap water.[6]
    Treat Bad Breath Step 4 Version 2.jpg
    • Like gum and mints, mouthwash is only a temporary fix to bad breath. Also, using mouthwash more than 1-2 times per day can actually worsen your breath by agitating the tissue within your mouth and drying out your oral cavity.
    • You may also consider trying oil pulling as a way to rinse your teeth and prevent bad breath. Swish of coconut or sesame oil in your mouth for about 10 minutes, and then spit out the oil.[7]
  5. Clean your dentures every night to remove any bad smells. If you wear dentures, remove them each night before you go to bed. Use lukewarm tap water and hand soap to scrub your dentures and remove any buildups of bacteria and plaque. If you neglect to clean your dentures, they’ll start to smell within a few days and can lead to bad breath.[8]
    Treat Bad Breath Step 5 Version 2.jpg
    • Instead of soap and water, you can also use a denture-cleaning pad or denture cream to clean the dentures.

[Edit]Making Lifestyle Changes to Reduce Bad Breath

  1. Stay hydrated to keep your mouth smelling fresh. Many cases of bad breath are caused by a dry mouth, which allows bacteria to flourish. Avoid this by drinking plenty of water throughout the day to keep your mouth wet and fresh smelling. Stay away from fluids that dehydrate you, like coffee, alcohol, and colas, which can actually worsen your bad breath.[9]
    Treat Bad Breath Step 6 Version 2.jpg
    • To keep hydrated, adult men should drink at least of water a day. Adult women should drink at least of water a day.
    • Some prescription medications can also cause you to have a dry mouth. If you’re not sure whether a medication you’re on dries out your mouth, ask your doctor.
  2. Floss daily to remove food particles that can cause bad breath. Brushing your teeth only cleans about 60% of the surface of your teeth, leaving 40% still dirty. Over time, the plaque and bacteria on these dirty surfaces of your teeth can start to smell bad, giving you potent breath. Prevent this potential bad breath by flossing daily.[10]
    Treat Bad Breath Step 7.jpg
    • You’ll be most likely to remember to floss if you do it at a consistent time day after day. For example, floss right after dinner each night.
  3. Stop smoking to improve the smell of your breath. Not only are cigarettes (and other forms of tobacco) bad for your health, but they give smokers chronic bad breath. Smoking also dries out your mouth (similarly to alcohol), and allows foul-smelling bacteria to build up in the oral cavity.[11]
    Treat Bad Breath Step 8.jpg
    • Even if you don’t smoke cigarettes, other types of smoking can lead to bad breath. Smoking cigars, vaping, and smoking marijuana can all cause bad-smelling breath.
  4. Cut back on the amount of alcohol you drink to decrease bad breath. Drinking alcohol alters the balance of bacteria in your mouth, leading to frequent bad breath. All types of alcohol (but especially hard liquors like whiskey and vodka) also dry out your mouth and lead to stale-smelling breath. So, if you’re a drinker and you find yourself with frequent bad breath, cut back on the alcohol consumption.[12]
    Treat Bad Breath Step 9.jpg
    • In order to be considered a moderate drinker, men under 65 should have no more than 2 drinks a day. Women of all ages and men over 65 should have no more than 1 drink a day.[13]
  5. Take a daily probiotic supplement. Taking probiotics may help with bad breath, so it’s something to consider. Look for a probiotic that contains lactobacilli.[14]
    Treat Bad Breath Step 10.jpg
    • Ask your healthcare provider for recommendations on probiotic supplements if you are unsure what probiotic to choose.[15]
  6. Reduce your intake of processed foods in favor of whole foods. Eating lots of processed foods and foods that are loaded with added sugar may make bad breath worse. However, getting most of your nutrients from whole foods, such as fruits and veggies, may help to improve bad breath. Cut back on the amount of processed foods and added sugars you consume and incorporate more fresh fruits and vegetables.
    Treat Bad Breath Step 11.jpg
    • Try drinking fresh fruits vegetable smoothies.
    • Consider a detox diet to help eliminate unhealthy foods from your diet.
  7. Snack on fresh, crispy fruit and veggies as part of a daily diet. Snacking on crispy and liquid-rich veggies and fruits is a great way to freshen your mouth. They prevent bad breath by removing food particles and bacteria from your tongue and the roof of your mouth. Eating these foods as a snack between meals can also prevent foul-smelling stomach acids from making your breath smell.[16] Before lunch or after dinner, eat 4-5 pieces of foods like:
    Treat Bad Breath Step 12.jpg
    • Apple slices
    • Celery sticks
    • Carrot sticks
    • Bell peppers

[Edit]Treating Medically-Caused Halitosis

  1. See a dentist 1–2 times every year for a general cleaning. Regular dental checkups and cleanings are crucial to maintaining strong, healthy teeth. Your dentist can identify and stop issues that cause bad breath, like cavities and tooth decay. General cleanings can also help prevent bad breath by keeping your teeth and gums free from odorous bacteria. If you notice that you have bad breath that isn’t fixed by a mint or brushing your teeth, bring the issue up to your dentist.[17]
    Treat Bad Breath Step 13.jpg
    • If your dentist sees any medical issues that may lead to bad breath—e.g., receding gums—they can point it out to you before the problem becomes severe.
  2. Visit your dentist if you suspect you have gum disease. Gum disease causes your gums to pull back from your teeth. A side effect of gum disease is that bacteria can build up in the pockets between your receding gums and your teeth. This typically results in extreme and chronic bad breath. If you notice your gums receding and can’t seem to get rid of your bad breath, visit your dentist and ask about gum disease.[18]
    Treat Bad Breath Step 14.jpg
    • If you do have gum disease, your dentist will be able to scrape the odor-causing bacteria out of the pockets between your gums and teeth.
    • If your gum disease is advanced or if you need surgery, your dentist may refer you to a periodontist (gum specialist).
  3. See your doctor if nose or throat pain accompany your bad breath. In some situations, sinus infection or inflammation can cause bad breath, as can general inflammation of soft tissue in your nose and throat. As bacteria build up in these kinds of infection, they’ll cause noticeably bad breath that won’t be treated through dental care or hydration.[19]
    Treat Bad Breath Step 15.jpg
    • Bacteria-covered tonsil stones can also produce bad breath. While these are uncommon, it’s worth asking your doctor to check your tonsils if you can’t determine the cause of your bad breath.
    • Your general practitioner may refer you to an ENT specialist to treat severe infections.
  4. Tell your doctor if stomach pain accompanies your bad breath. Certain stomach and intestinal conditions can produce halitosis. For example, if an unhealthy level of the bacteria H. pylori has built up in your stomach, it may be causing your chronic bad breath. Similarly, stomach ulcers and various stomach reflux diseases can cause foul-smelling breath.[20]
    Treat Bad Breath Step 16.jpg
    • Some of these stomach and intestinal medical conditions can be treated with prescription medications. For harder-to-treat conditions, your doctor may refer you to a gastroenterologist.


  • If you're going to be away from quick breath-fresheners like gum and mints, avoid eating potent foods like onion, garlic, and fish. These food items are notorious for giving people bad breath.[21]

[Edit]Related wikiHows


[Edit]Quick Summary

  1. https://www.verywellhealth.com/home-remedies-for-bad-breath-89268
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bad-breath/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20350925
  3. https://www.verywellhealth.com/home-remedies-for-bad-breath-89268
  4. https://www.deltadentalins.com/oral_health/fighting-bad-breath.html
  5. https://www.deltadentalins.com/oral_health/fighting-bad-breath.html
  6. https://www.deltadentalins.com/oral_health/fighting-bad-breath.html
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21911944
  8. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/bad-breath/treatment/
  9. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bad-breath/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20350925
  10. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/166636.php
  11. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/166636.php
  12. https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/beer-breath-drinking-alcohol-may-give-you-more-bad-breath-n868391
  13. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/alcohol/art-20044551
  14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3412664/
  15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20659698
  16. https://www.deltadentalins.com/oral_health/fighting-bad-breath.html
  17. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bad-breath/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20350925
  18. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bad-breath/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20350925
  19. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/166636.php
  20. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/bad-breath/treatment/
  21. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/166636.php

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How to Ace the ACT

If you’re wondering how you can best prepare yourself to pass the ACT with flying colors, you’re not alone. Many students approaching the end of high school wonder how they can ace the ACT and position themselves to get into good colleges. Even students with excellent grades can get nervous when they think about taking the ACT, since your results can have a large impact on the success of your college applications. Don’t worry, though; there are plenty of study tricks and tips you can use to do well on the test. Thorough preparation and a calm, confident demeanor are key attributes you will need if you want to ace the test.


[Edit]Setting Your Study and Score Goals

  1. Review the basic format to understand what you’re studying for. The ACT is a multiple choice test with four sections: English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science. The English test consists of 75 questions designed to measure standard written and rhetorical skills. The mathematics test consists of 60 questions designed to measure mathematical skills typically learned before the start of grade 12. The reading test consists of 40 questions designed to measure reading comprehension skills. The science test consists of 40 questions designed to measure a student’s ability to interpret, analyze, evaluate, reason, and problem-solve with the natural sciences.[1]
    Ace the ACT Step 1 Version 2.jpg
    • The test sections vary in the amount of time you have to complete them. You have 45 minutes to complete the English section, but 60 minutes to complete the Math section and 35 minutes for both the Reading and Science sections.
    • You can also take an optional writing test, in which you will be required to write an essay. The writing test consists of one prompt, which you will have 30 minutes to write about. This section has no effect on your overall score.
  2. Create a study plan to keep yourself focused. An actual study plan will help you stay more committed to your practice. To fulfill your plan, try to study at least 30 minutes each day, and plan to start studying 3 months in advance. Also, focus on the areas you struggle with most. While you need to practice all areas of the ACT in order to be truly ready, if you struggle with one subject more than the others, set aside a bit more time for that area than the others.[2]
    Ace the ACT Step 2 Version 2.jpg
    • There is a direct relationship between how much you practice and how well you do on the test, so if you want to ace the ACT, you need to study consistently for several months.
  3. Select a target score that you’d like to get on the ACT. Setting a target score will give you a specific goal to work towards. The test is scored on a scale from 1–36, with an average score falling at about 21. Say that you’d like to get a score of 24, which would put you at about the 75th percentile. Knowing this will help you figure out how much you need to improve when you take your first practice test.[3]
    Ace the ACT Step 3 Version 2.jpg
    • Know how high your score needs to be in order to get accepted to your first-choice school. You can find this out by calling or emailing their admissions office. For example, many Ivy League universities don’t admit students who score lower than a 34.
    • The whole purpose behind the ACT is to determine how ready you are for college, so any goal you create should be for the purpose of getting you into the college of your choice.
  4. Take several practice tests so you’re ready for the real thing. You can find practice tests through the ACT website, third party test prep sites, and in study-guide books. Choose practice tests specifically set up in the ACT format so that you can study while also becoming comfortable with the way the test is set up. This will prevent you from being nervous when you take the actual test, and will also help you understand how the test is timed and formatted.[4]
    Ace the ACT Step 4 Version 2.jpg
    • Take your practice tests at roughly the same time of day you can expect to take the actual ACT at. Since the test is usually held fairly early, taking practice tests in the morning will help your brain develop the early morning thinking habits it needs.
    • You can purchase an official ACT prep tests on the official ACT website: http://www.actstudent.org/onlineprep/.
    • If you would rather not buy a test prep guide, the ACT website also offers free practice questions: http://www.actstudent.org/sampletest/.
    • The ACT publishes a printed, official prep guide that you can buy, as well. This prep guide includes five retired ACT tests and writing tests.

[Edit]Targeting Areas of Study

  1. Brush up on your punctuation and noun-pronoun agreement rules. Essentially, you should brush up on the standard rules of English, especially as they apply to grammar. Try checking out a grammar guide like the Chicago style manual or Strunk and White from the library. Improve your knowledge of English grammar and mechanics is especially important if you tend to struggle in this area in general.[5]
    Ace the ACT Step 5 Version 2.jpg
    • Vocabulary flashcards may do you some good, but you’d be better off studying the rules of English grammar than enlarging your vocabulary.
    • Make sure that you have a thorough understanding of how to use commas, colons, semi-colons, and dashes.
  2. Memorize math formulas so you’ll know them for the test. Algebraic variable manipulation and plane geometry are the most important subjects to study for the mathematics portion of the test. But, the ACT itself will not provide you with any formulas you need for answering the questions. To avoid floundering on the math portion, make sure that you memorize the most essential trigonometry, algebra, and geometry, formulas and understand how to apply them.[6]
    Ace the ACT Step 6 Version 2.jpg
    • When you’re taking practice tests, if you find that you’re unfamiliar with a certain formula or equation (e.g., calculating the sine and cosine or using the quadratic equation), make sure to learn how to use those formulas.
    • Use flashcards to help you memorize formulas and brush up on your math knowledge in preparation for the test.
    • Note that calculus is not tested on the ACT. Trigonometry questions may appear, but there will only be a limited number of these. The hardest trigonometry questions usually deal with sine, cosine, and tangent graphs, as well as the unit circle.
  3. Familiarize yourself with general scientific knowledge. The science section will require you to have some general science knowledge, but will mostly test your science reading comprehension. You’ll be given a variety of charts and figures and experiment descriptions and expected to answer detailed questions about them. So, re-read a couple of your high school science textbooks and get used to thinking analytically about charts and sample experiments.[7]
    Ace the ACT Step 7 Version 2.jpg
    • When practicing for this section, try answering data representation sections first before answering more complex questions in the practice test.
  4. Practice writing draft essays to prepare for the writing section. Complete a draft essay once a week using writing prompts suggested by the official ACT study guides. This way, you’ll be used to answering the types of prompts you’ll see on the test. Keep yourself on a strict 30-minute timer. Before you write, analyze the prompt and decide what angle you want to take when answering.[8]
    Ace the ACT Step 8 Version 2.jpg
    • A five-paragraph essay needs an introduction, three body paragraphs with supporting points, and a conclusion. Ideally, one of your body paragraphs will be a contradictory point with your rebuttal.
    • ACT essay prompts typically give a statement about a cultural or social issue, then provide 3 perspectives that respond to the issue. You’ll be asked to think analytically and analyze the perspectives.

[Edit]Preparing Yourself and Your Supplies

  1. Stimulate your mind and body the night before the test. Go for a short run, ride your bicycle, or work on a puzzle. The idea is to stimulate yourself without exhausting yourself. Physical activity gets the blood pumping, which can improve blood flow to the brain and make it easier to stay alert and focused during the text. Similarly, mental stimulation can get the metaphorical gears turning in your head, preparing your brain for the problem solving it will need to perform on the test.[9]
    Ace the ACT Step 9 Version 2.jpg
    • Then, make sure that you get a good night’s sleep. A good night’s sleep is very important since it allows you to wake up refreshed and recharged. Aim for a full 8 hours the night before the test.
  2. Eat a healthy breakfast the morning of the test. The breakfast you eat should be healthy but fairly normal in size. If all you usually eat in the morning is a bowl of cereal, opt for a healthier cereal option and hydrate yourself with orange juice. This will make sure that your body has plenty of energy and that you won’t get hungry or crash halfway through the test.
    Ace the ACT Step 10 Version 2.jpg
    • Do not eat a large meal if you are not used to it, since eating a lot of food can cause you to slow down and become tired.
  3. Gather the materials that you’ll need for the test. Your school should inform you of what to bring with you on the day of the test. If nothing else, you will need to have an appropriate ID, approved calculator, #2 pencils, and your test ticket. Bring a silent watch (but none with smart abilities like the Apple Watch) to keep track of time, as there may not be a clock available. Bring multiple pencils, erasers, a scientific or graphing calculator, and a water bottle.[10]
    Ace the ACT Step 11 Version 2.jpg
    • You should also lay out a route from your home to the testing center. If you have never been to the testing center, take a drive there before the day of the test to familiarize yourself with the roads.

[Edit]Taking the Test

  1. Stay calm during the test to maximize your score. Panic will only hurt you in the end, and if you think you will fail, you risk setting your sights on failure instead of success. Go to the testing center with as much confidence as possible. If you find yourself getting nervous or stressed during the test, stand up, take a sip of water, and do a couple stretches to clear your head.
    Ace the ACT Step 12 Version 2.jpg
    • Remember that very few test-takers finish every question on every part of the ACT!
  2. Work the easiest questions first and don’t be afraid to skip tough ones. You need to pace yourself throughout the test in order to ensure that you have enough time to answer all the questions. If one question has you stumped or confused, make a mental note to come back to it later and move onto the next question. It’s much better to answer 10 questions correctly than to spend 15 minutes puzzling through 1 impossibly difficult question![11]
    Ace the ACT Step 13 Version 2.jpg
    • There’s also no need to answer the questions in order. If the last question seems like the easiest to you, solve that one first! Answer the questions you know first before returning to the ones you have to mull over.
  3. Answer every question even if you’re not sure of the answer. There is no penalty for wrong answers on the ACT, so it is in your best interest to guess the correct answer rather than leaving a question blank. It’s best to make an educated guess, if possible, rather than randomly penciling in answers to questions you didn’t finish.[12]
    Ace the ACT Step 14 Version 2.jpg
    • Only resort to randomly penciling in answers if you have less than a minute left and don’t have time to make educated guesses.
  4. Eliminate incorrect answers to find the correct one. Since the ACT is a multiple-choice test, you can use the process of elimination to improve your chances of answering problems correctly. For example, say that you’re given choices A, B, C, and D, but you quickly deduce that B and C are incorrect. You can guess either A or D and have a 50% chance of being right, which are much better odds than the 25% chance you’d have if you hadn’t eliminated answers.[13]
    Ace the ACT Step 15 Version 2.jpg
    • In the math section, you can quickly eliminate any answers that aren’t remotely close to the number you came up with (even if your answer doesn’t match any of the given answers).
    • In reading and science, many incorrect answers to the questions may initially seem feasible. However, if even 1 aspect of the answer seems wrong to you, you should eliminate the answer.
  5. Leave yourself 5 minutes at the end to check your work. While you’re taking the test, put a small, light mark next to questions that you struggled to answer or don’t feel confident about. During the final 5 minutes of each section of the ACT, review the questions that you marked. Reread the question, check your work, and correct any answers that you may have answered incorrectly the first time around.[14]
    Ace the ACT Step 16 Version 2.jpg
    • If you’re waffling between 2 different answers, go with your gut feeling. It’s also a good idea to trust your first impulse rather than overthinking the problem.


  • Remember that you can take the ACT more than once. You can take the ACT multiple times, so if you do not ace it your first time around, you can try again later. But it’s best to shoot for a great score the first time so that you do not have to repeat the test again.
  • If you’d like an extra, fun way to study for the test each day, review the ACT “Question of the Day.” This question is available on the ACT website for free: http://www.act.org/qotd/.
  • Do not drink a bunch of caffeine in the morning right before taking the ACT. You can have a cup of coffee or tea if that is part of your morning routine, but drinking a lot of caffeine in the morning to give yourself an energy buzz is risky since you will likely find your blood sugar and energy crashing halfway through the ACT.
  • Figure out in advance whether or not the college you want to attend wants you to take the optional writing portion of the test. Since this part is optional, many colleges and universities do not need to see it, so you can skip taking it if that is the case. Many colleges and universities do want to see that score, however, so you should find out beforehand before opting out of it.
  • Resist the urge to cram for the ACT. The test covers a wide range of material, and the amount of material you need to study for is vastly greater than the amount of information you need for a standard high school test.

[Edit]Related wikiHows


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How to Cut Squash

There are many kinds of squash, such as butternut and acorn, that have tough, starchy interiors that are hard to cut. If you're making a recipe with squash, you'll have to cut it into strips or cubes so it can cook quickly and evenly. Although squashes might be differently shaped, they can all be cut the same way. Just make sure to practice safe knife skills while you're making your cuts!


[Edit]Peeling and Halving the Squash

  1. Cut off the top and bottom of the squash. Lay the squash on its side on top of a cutting board. Use a large chef's knife that's about long so it can cut through the squash completely. Hold the squash steady with your nondominant hand and use the knife to slice the top and bottom areas so they're flat.[1]

    • Make sure to remove the stem completely since you won't be able to cut through it.
  2. Peel the squash if you want to remove the skin. Keep the squash in place with your nondominant hand and hold a vegetable peeler in your dominant hand so it's at a 45-degree angle to the squash. Press the peeler into the squash, then pull it down along the length of the squash to remove the skin. Rotate the squash when you're finished peeling one side so you can peel the rest of the skin.[2]

    • You don't have to peel the squash if you don't want to.
    • Try microwaving the squash for 30 seconds to heat up the skin and make it easier to peel.
  3. Set the squash upright so the widest side is on the bottom. Put the squash on your cutting board so one of the flat edges you cut is on the bottom. Make sure the widest part of the squash is closer to the cutting board so it doesn't tip over or move as much while you're cutting it.[3]

    Cut Squash Step 3.jpg
    • Put your cutting board on a level surface so it doesn't wobble while you're using it.
  4. Use a rocking motion to cut through the middle of the squash. Use the same chef's knife as before and set the blade in the middle of the top flat side. Press the blade into the squash and put your hand on top so the squash can't move around. Rock your knife up and down to work through the squash until you cut through the bottom.[4]

    • If you have trouble cutting through the squash right away, try putting it in the microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute to make it easier. Be careful since the inside of the squash will be hot.
    • Don't keep your fingers below the knife blade since the blade could slip and you could cut yourself.
  5. Scoop out the seeds with a metal spoon. Look for the area inside your squash that contains the seeds and scrape them out. Use the edge of a metal spoon to remove all of the seeds so they don't get in the way while you're cutting the squash. Be sure to remove any of the stringy pieces of the squash that are hanging near the seeds as well.[5]

[Edit]Cutting the Squash into Strips or Cubes

  1. Cut the squash into strips that are thick. Turn the halves of squash over so the flat sides are against the cutting board and the longest side faces you. Start on one end of the squash and use your knife to cut strips. Start with the tip of your knife on the board and rock it forward to cut through the squash.[6]

    • Keep your fingers curled on your nondominant hand so you don't cut yourself.
    • The size of the strips depends on the recipe you're following. Check it before you start cutting your squash to make sure it's the right size.
  2. Stack the slices and cut them in half lengthwise. Take 3-4 strips you just cut and stack them on top of one another so they line up along an edge. Squeeze the long sides of your stack to hold them in place while you cut them in half lengthwise. When you're finished with your cut, you should have 6-8 pieces that are all uniform in size.[7]

    • You can cook the squash in strips if you want to.
  3. Rotate the strips and cut them into cubes if you want. Turn the strips 90-degrees so the longer edges are facing toward you. Use your knife to cut then strips into cubes so they are all the same size. Keep cutting your squash until it's all cubed.[8]

    • A squash that's will give you about 4 ½ cups (0.92 kg) of cubed squash
  4. Store squash in your fridge for up to 4 days. If you don't plan on cooking the squash right away, then put the cubes or strips into an airtight container or plastic bag. Press all the air out if you can and then put it in your fridge. You can use the squash for up to 4 days before it starts to go bad.[9]

    Cut Squash Step 9.jpg
    • You can freeze squash as well, but it stays preserved better if you cook it first.

[Edit]Staying Safe While Cutting

  1. Sharpen your knives before you start cutting. Squash is tough when it's raw and can be difficult to cut through with a dull knife. Drag the blade of your knife at a 20-degree angle across a whetstone or a honing rod to keep the blade sharp. Make sure to sharpen each side of the knife so it cuts evenly.[10]

    Cut Squash Step 10.jpg
    • Sharpen your knives every 2-4 times you use them to maintain their edge.
  2. Make sure your cutting surface is stable. Use a flat surface, like a counter or table top, when you cut your squash, or else it could fall. Set your cutting board down and press down on each side to make sure it doesn't wobble. If it does, find a new spot to cut the squash.[11]

    Cut Squash Step 11.jpg
    • If a plastic cutting board wobbles, check the bottoms to see if any of the rubber grips have fallen off on the bottom. If they have, then set something underneath the cutting board to prevent it from moving.
  3. Hit the knife lightly with a rubber mallet if it gets stuck. Sometimes, your knife may get stuck while you're cutting a large squash. Hold the handle of the knife from the bottom and tap the top of the handle with a rubber mallet. Keep tapping the knife until it gets through the tough spot, and then cut the rest of the squash as usual.[12]

    • Don't hit the squash too hard or the knife may make a crooked cut.


  • Keep your fingers away from the knife blade so you don't accidentally cut yourself.
  • Make sure your work surface is sturdy so the squash doesn't slip while you try to cut it.

[Edit]Things You'll Need

  • Cutting board
  • Chef's knife
  • Spoon


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