Test Prep

What is POOD? How Will It Help Me on the ACT?

The Princeton Review | YouTube

If you’ve ever worked with a Princeton Review teacher, tutor or test prep guide, then you’ll be familiar with POOD. It’s a funny name, but also a hugely important concept when it comes to taking the ACT. Watch our test prep experts explain POOD in the video above.

One of the first things you need to understand about the ACT is that on the Math Test, the questions move in order of difficulty from easy to medium to hard. But on the Reading Test, the Science Test and the Writing Test, they don’t.


That’s why it’s important to pay attention to your Personal Order of Difficulty -- otherwise known as POOD.

Why is POOD Important?

If time is going to run out, would you rather it run out on the hardest questions on the ACT or the easiest? Naturally, you want it to run out on the questions you are less likely to get right. If you don’t understand your Personal Order of Difficulty, you could easily fall into the trap of spending too much time on the hardest problems and either never getting to or rushing through the easiest. POOD helps you make smart decisions quickly as you move through each test.  

How to Use POOD

1. Pay Attention to Yourself As A Test Taker

What kinds of questions and topics tend to trip you up? Maybe you feel comfortable about punctuation questions but a little shaky on pronouns.

2. Ask Yourself: Does This Question Look Okay?

Do you know how to answer it? If so, do it now. For example, if you’re A-OK on punctuation questions, go nail those first and pick up those points.

3. Ask Yourself: Will This Question Take A Long Time to Work?

If the answer is yes, then do it later. Circle the question number for easy reference and come back to it if you have time.

4. Know the Signs That Flash Danger

Recognize the topics that are your absolute worst, and that you should never do. Instead, use more time to answer the “now” and “later” questions correctly.

Let your POOD help determine your pacing strategy. Spend time on the questions you know you can ace before you tackle the questions that may be a little more difficult for you answer.

Want more ACT strategies? Our ACT tutors can help you build a prep plan that’s customized to score goals, study habits and schedule.

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