How to Prepare for the ACT

The holidays are over and the ACT’s are just around the corner! Time to jump back into the books and start preparing for the ACT. Here are some pointers to get you going.

Student studies for her second ACT test

Prep Step #1: Create a Schedule

One of the most important things you can do when it comes to studying for the ACT is creating a schedule. And don’t feel like you have to pile it all on at once either! You can absolutely start slow and ramp it up, especially as it gets closer to your test date.

You should also adjust your schedule as you go on. Need to focus more on math? Make sure to set more time aside for that. Just because you set a schedule in January doesn’t mean you have to keep entirely to those time slots until your March test date.

Prep Step #2: Make it a Game

Studying can sound like the most boring thing in the world – but it really doesn’t have to be, especially if you’re approaching it the right way and with the right mindset.

You can absolutely make a game out of ACT studying… or, even better, use an app that makes it a game for you! Sheppards Software, for example, has flash games that can help you brush up on math or English. On Quizlet, you can create flashcards for yourself. And FreeRice has a great English grammar mode that works well for the ACT – and every answer you get correct means rice gets provided to someone in need.

You can also think about using crosswords, ACT Math Jeopardy, and vocabulary games.

Prep Step #3: Take Breaks, Reward Yourself, and Don’t Beat Yourself Up

Studying isn’t all about sitting at your desk staring at books for hours on end, with a practice test here and there. You a definitely need to add breaks to your schedule. And that doesn’t mean just walking around the house for a few minutes to give your eyes a break.

You can go outside, go to the movies, play a video game, read a book, take a nap, or anything that you feel like!

But you also need to focus on rewarding yourself. Score particularly well on a practice test? Treat yourself. Shown remarkable progress in one of your weaker areas? Go out for dinner with family or friends.

The other side of it though, is if you’re doing poorly or not making as much progress as you thought you would, don’t beat yourself up.  You may just have to take the work from a different angle – not every study method is going to work for every student. Try out some different materials for study, talk to your teacher, or opt for a tutor. There are always ways you can change up your prep and focus on your ACT exam.

The ACT can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. In a few months, it will be in your rearview mirror and you’ll be on your way to college. It’s important though to always take it seriously, but remember to take care of you, too.