Studying strengthens weaknesses and sharpens skills, leading to increased knowledge and higher test scores. Studying for the ACT is no different. A study plan grants the ability to maximize prep time to achieve a score accepted by the college of their choice. Here are the key components of an effective plan.
When is it time to study for the ACT?
Prepping during the end of sophomore year of high school or the summer between sophomore and junior year is a good time to start studying. Your high schooler should take a practice ACT test during sophomore year.
The practice test provides a baseline score which gives an idea of how well your student may perform on the actual test. It will also indicate how many hours of preparation will be needed to reach their desired score.
Building an ACT Study Schedule
A structured study plan built around your child’s schedule makes it easier to stay committed. A 6-month ACT study plan requires around 150 hours of study, equating to 6 to 6 ½ hours per week. This could fluctuate depending on how many hours per week your child can devote to studying and where they would like to attend college.
Six months of effective studying should improve the baseline score up to nine points. An efficient plan highlights various aspects of the test each month.
Below is a brief monthly study plan outline.
Take a practice test during week one of the first month of the plan. This familiarizes students with the ACT format. Split the remaining weeks into sections: English and reading, science and math, and reading strategies for the reading science areas.
The second month centers around content included in the test; grammar, vocabulary, reading comprehension, algebra, geometry foundation, trigonometry, and science.
During month three, your student can practice eliminating wrong answer choices for English and reading. They may also practice answering math and science questions and strategies. They should review each ACT section by the end of the month and take another practice test.
The fourth month is a good time to learn the writing section format. Writing timed essays is good practice. Students should continue reviewing each section of the ACT.
Each week during the fifth month should again focus on the individual sections of the ACT. Practice any math, science, English, or reading topic that is still problematic.
Check your progress by taking a practice test, then review any areas that could still use some work.
Including ACT Practice Tests in Your 6-Month ACT Study Plan
Once your child has a study plan, a sizable portion will include practice questions and practice tests.
Practicing under similar conditions to the actual test is key. The goal is to simulate the potential pressure that can be experienced when taking the ACT. Each section should have the same time constraints as the real test. Going through all sections in a row also gives a sense of how fatigue could be a factor in the later sections.
Practicing gives a good estimate of progress over the 6-month study plan period.
It’s ACT Test Day. Now What?
Make sure the test taker eats a healthy breakfast and packs nutritious snacks and water. Arrive at the testing center 30 minutes before testing begins. Depending on logistics, such as parking and walking distance to the testing center, adjust arrival time accordingly.
Once seated for the test, the proctor will provide instructions and begin the test. All instructions should be followed exactly as given. The planning and prep during the previous six months should help the test taker feel more comfortable and confident.
Helping your high schooler remain optimistic throughout the six months will boost their confidence in reaching the desired ACT score. Help them focus on their strengths rather than worrying about their weaknesses. They are now one step closer to achieving their goal of becoming a college student.
The Learning Team offers private coaching and workshops to review strategies centered on ACT format and test questions. If your child struggles in only one area, we offer tutoring in individual sections. We know what it takes to help work towards better ACT scores and want your child to reach their full potential. Call us to create the perfect study plan for your student.