You know it's coming, don't you? The ACT! Before you panic, learn how to study for the ACT before your mom drags you down to the nearest tutoring center or buys you 8 ACT study books you may not need. To study for the ACT, you need a little bit of planning, some mentorship, and some time. Not too bad, huh? These steps will have you reaching toward the best ACT score you can achieve, so read on.
1. Study for the ACT Early
Mmkay. You’re not going to get a fabulous ACT score by trying to study for the ACT three days ahead of time. Days are reserved for tests you take in school. Months are reserved for studying huge life-altering tests like the ACT. (Good ACT scores = acceptance into better schools, money for school, and on and on.) Please do not underestimate the importance of time when studying!
2. Get a Baseline Score
Purchase an ACT prep book or go online to a reputable site like ACT.org and without studying at all, take a complete ACT practice test, including the essay. This score will be your baseline score. From here, you’ll know exactly how much you need to improve to get into the school you’re interested in, and thus, how much time you’ll need to pour into it.
3. Set a Goal
And make it a “SMAART” goal – you know, one that is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Action-oriented, Results-oriented, and Time-phased. Figure out what kind of ACT score you’d like, and a “smart” way to get there.
4. Learn the ACT Basics
The ACT has four required sections. Did you know that? Plus the Writing (which is optional, but not in your case because you should take it). Do you know what a good ACT score is? Do you understand how to take this multiple-choice test? How do you register? Find out this kind of stuff right off the bat.
5. Figure Out Your ACT Prep Options
You don't have to study for the ACT with a tutoring center if you don't want to, but you should definitely check out your options, like ACT apps, books, classes, etc., especially if you have trouble staying focused while studying. At the very least, evaluate what's out there. Spending a couple hundred dollars may be the best investment you (or the parents!) ever make if it saves you thousands in tuition dollars.
6. Create a Study Schedule
I get it, I get it. You’re the busiest person on the planet. Everyone is busy, my friend, but you have to figure out a way to study for the ACT as much as you can. The less time you have per day means earlier you need to start. Get rid of time drains like Facebook or reality TV (just for a little while!), squeeze ACT study time into those extra hours you gain, and reap the rewards a good ACT score can bring.
7. Take Practice ACT Tests
8. Be Accountable
Find a study partner. Hire a tutor. Get your mom to harass you (like you'd have to ask her, right?) But for goodness sake, hold yourself accountable to someone else. We are often our own worst study enemies. We lose focus, we let ourselves off the hook, we watch Jersey Shore, etc. Instead of going it alone, find someone who will kick your behind if you're slacking.
9. Learn the ACT Test Strategies
Should you guess? Are you allowed to bring a calculator? What's the best thing to do if you don't know an answer? The ACT test strategies above will make your study sessions smoother, because they will help you figure out what to do when those questionable moments arrive.