Getting ready to take the ACT soon? Or have you recently wrestled that bear and it didn’t go your way? Don’t worry. Students all over the world usually retake the ACT an average of two times before they are satisfied with their final score.
Preparing for the ACT can be tricky, but with the right study habits, tricks, and materials, you can get the score you want. The most prominent problems students tend to have is figuring out when and what to study. It’s hard to stay on top of your regular school work, extra credit work (if you’re one of those types) and a social life. Not to mention, if you’re involved in extracurricular activities. It’s also tough figuring out how much time to spend on each subject, what subjects to spend more time with, and how to study those subjects.
The ACT is a hard test to prepare for; we get it. But we’ve found some tested ways to make studying more comfortable and help you improve your ACT score!
I know you’re reading this, and you’re like, "duh," but this is one of the most common problems ACT takers have. Making time to study is hard, but it’s crucial if you want to score well on the ACT. So that’s why we suggest you plan your day out by the hour and find out where you have space in your day to study. It doesn’t need to be a four-hour block. Find at least 30 minutes where you can sit and review something for the ACT. Once you’ve found the time, figuring out what you need to improve your ACT score is next!
— Insider Tip: Timing is Everything —
Start your study clock at the exact moment you have scheduled to study. Time is something to consider when planning your study schedule. You don’t want to schedule a time when you won’t be able to sit and study right at that moment. For example, if you get off the bus at 2:50 p.m. and you typically aren’t settled in until 3:15 p.m., start your time at 3:15 p.m. Pick a time that is attainable!
You’ve already made your hour-by-hour plan. Now it’s time to fit all five ACT subjects into your scheduled study time. Make a study plan with all five of the ACT subjects. This way when you sit down for your study time, you know what you’re going to study, and you can spend time on every subject. Plan out when you’re going to review each ACT section and when you’re going to take ACT practice tests. Having a schedule helps ensure you get all the ACT prep in to get the score you want!
Now that you’ve sat down to start your study session, what are you going to do? Some can just open their computer and use their ACT Test Prep and go straight to work. However, that isn’t the case for most people. We suggest using the Pomodoro method; it works like a charm. This type of studying is for 30-minute increments - 25 minutes of no-distraction studying with a 5-minute break. There’s a ton of different study methods, but this one works well, and it gives you breaks!
— Insider Tip: No Devices, No Distractions —
When you go to start a Pomodoro sessions, turn your cell phone and other smart devices on "do not disturb" mode so that you can get the most out of your study time.
Not sure how much time to dedicate to each subject? Have you taken the ACT before or used an ACT practice test? If so, you probably have a good idea of what you need to work on. But if you don’t, no worries. There are five sections to the ACT: English, Math, Reading, Science, and Writing. If you use the Pomodoro method mentioned above, then it’s super easy to make sure you spread your time between each subject (in which case, we suggest studying one subject during each session). This way, you can focus on each ACT subject. Once you start, you’ll begin to see what topics you need to spend more time reviewing.
For days when you can’t sit down and study, you should create flashcards or a study card that you can read over. Using quick study materials can help you remember root words, punctuation, grammar, math terms, scientific equations, etc. Studying these kinds of materials will help you when you still have four more sections to go, but your brain is mush from the first. Having quick study materials is beneficial for days when you can’t get in a full hour of study, but you want to spend some time preparing for the ACT.
— Insider Tip: Think Practical Application —
When creating quick study materials, it's important to actually apply the terms and equations, instead of just memorizing. Although it's good to remember the information, it's a better use of your time if you use the equations to solve a math problem or use the vocabulary terms in a sentence.
Take as many ACT practice tests as you can. Find affordable ACT prep that gives you questions and answers. ACT sample tests are a great resource to help familiarize yourself with the material on the test and what subjects you need to spend extra time studying. Who knows... you may just see one of your practice questions on the real ACT test.