So, you’ve registered for the ACT. You have your test date, meaning you know which Saturday of the year you’re going to have to waste four hours filling in bubbles with a No. 2 pencil. Here’s the worst thing about the ACT: it’s actually important. So… where to begin? Where do you start in learning how to study for the ACT? What are the best test tips? There are 735,148 results when you type in ACT on Amazon (check, we’re not kidding). There are probably hundreds of local tutoring companies who are offering the “best” service to study you for the test (at an exceptionally high hourly rate). The beginning of this process can feel like a long, winding, road. And it is. We’re not here to lie to you. You’re going to put in hours into studying and taking practice tests. But there’s an effective way to manage these hours, balance all the different options in front of you, and choosing the routes that are best. It’s all about having the right test tips.
The most important thing about the ACT is that it is predictable. If you know how to study for the ACT, you will know exactly what to expect on the test and when to expect it. It is predictable, calculated, and contains little to no surprises. So, with that in mind, let’s discuss how to study for the ACT, and the best test tips.
Make a calendar/schedule/routine
There’s a reason high schools force you to use a planner. They work. Even if you hate using yours, it’s hard to argue that it’s not effective. So just like your high school assignments, you’ll want to organize your time and effort when studying for the ACT. Whether it’s getting a second planner, simply using the one you already have, or getting a calendar for the wall above your desk, find a way to organize and schedule your time. It’s much easier to set aside 5-10 hours a week for three to four months, than trying to cram 30 hours into the week before your test date. If you can get on a routine and stick to it, you’ll find that studying for the test will become easier.
Find a Test Aid that works for you.
Like we mentioned, there are thousands of ACT Prep books available on the market, on top of the in-person tutoring available across the country. No book is perfect, but all of them will help you learn how to study for the ACT. These books also contain valuable test tips. Our recommendation is, of course, the TutorMe Online ACT preparation course. With over nine hours of animated content and five hundred practice problems, the course is the most expansive and in depth option on the market, for only a fraction of the price.
Take practice tests under the same conditions you’ll take the real test.
It’s helpful to mimic the experience you’ll have on test day beforehand, this way you won’t be surprised or off pace when it comes time to take the real thing. So, set aside four hours once or twice before the exam, and take a practice test straight through. You should even schedule the breaks to coincide with the amount of time you’ll receive in between sections of the actual test. This is one of the most valuable test tips you can use.
Learn your strengths and weaknesses.
There’s nothing wrong with admitting that you struggle with certain topics on the ACT. Knowing what these topics are can help focus your studies, but will also come in handy on test day. One of the biggest mistakes students make during the test is wasting “good” time on “bad” questions. Remember, every question on the ACT is worth the same amount of points, so don’t spend too much time trying to solve a problem you struggle with. Guess and move on. Try to focus your studies on the subjects you initially struggle on. Taking a Diagnostic Test at the beginning of your process will help you identify what subjects you should focus on. Knowing what to study on the ACT, is just as important as knowing how to study for the ACT.
Remember, you can take the ACT as many times as you’d like. Your scores are not reported to colleges until you choose to do so, meaning if you score poorly on a test, no one has to know except you. Remember the art of Zen. Be calm. Be confident. And be focused. The ACT is one test. You can retake it. So don’t sweat it. Forget everything else in the room. Forget the pressure. Simply focus on the test. You can do it and you will do it. When you’re at the school of your dreams, this will just be one Saturday in your Senior year when you happened to spend four hours of it sitting in a room taking a test. You know how to study for the ACT and the best test tips, now you just have to put in the time.
Now that we’ve covered how to study for the ACT and the best test tips, check out our other posts for more in depth strategy on the Math, Reading, Science, and English tests, these posts contain test tips on a more specific level.