The ACT — the standardized test long preferred by high school students in the Midwest — is currently experiencing a surge in popularity among East Coast college hopefuls as an alternative to the SAT.

Because students and parents on the East Coast may be less familiar with the exam, we asked Elizabeth King, the author of the new book “Acing the ACT,” to explain how a student should approach things.

Familiarize yourself with the questions: “It’s important to understand the ways questions are asked; every test has its own way of phrasing things,” King notes. “Really understanding tricky questions is the key to making your score increase.”

Have perspective: “While the ACT is important, the ACT is actually not the most important thing,” King says. The exam is just one tool in your toolbox.

Be confident: “Use familiarity as a tool against test anxiety,” King said. “These tests seem like big, looming monsters that stand between us and college admissions, but the tests are pretty predictable.”