The Best Way to Study for the ACT

February 15, 2023
By AdmissionSight

The Best Way to Study for the ACT

The American College Testing (ACT) is a standardized test that admissions officers frequently use to evaluate applicants on their level of preparedness for college. The total score on the exam is out of 36, and there are subscores for each of the following categories: English, mathematics, reading comprehension, and science. Knowing the best way to study for the ACT can be daunting.

A strong performance on the ACT can improve your chances of getting into certain schools and universities, and it can even make you eligible for some scholarships.

We recommend getting ready for the ACT at least a few months in advance by going over the content of the test, taking practice exams, and figuring out where your weak spots are. In this post, we’ll help you find the best way to study for the ACT by outlining all of your study alternatives and letting you know how to figure out which ones to utilize.

What is the ACT?

What is the ACT? The ACT is a standardized college admissions test measuring a student’s college-level coursework readiness. The test is divided into four sections: English, Math, Reading, and Science. It also includes an optional Writing section.

The English section measures a student’s understanding of grammar, usage, sentence structure, and ability to revise and edit written works. The Math section covers mathematical concepts such as algebra, geometry, and trigonometry.

The Reading section measures a student’s ability to read and understand complex texts, including both fiction and nonfiction. The Science section tests a student’s ability to interpret and analyze scientific data and experiments. The optional Writing section requires students to write an essay in response to a given prompt.

A student taking an exam

The ACT is widely used by colleges and universities in the United States as a part of their admissions process. High school juniors and seniors typically take it, and scores are used to help colleges determine which students to admit and to place students in appropriate courses.

What is the Best Way to Study for the ACT?

What is the best way to study for the ACT? The reality is that no particular method is guaranteed to guarantee success on the ACT. Rather, you have a number of options to choose from, including self-study, working with a private instructor, enrolling in a preparatory class, using an online program, or any combination of these.

In the end, the choice you make should be determined by the resources at your disposal as well as the requirements you must fulfill.

Your preparation for the ACT should always include methods necessary for achieving the best possible results, regardless of your study style.

A female student thinking

Preparing for the ACT can seem like a daunting task, but with a solid study plan, you can feel confident and perform well on test day. Here are some tips on the best way to study for the ACT:

Understand the test format and content: Familiarize yourself with the format and content of each section, as well as the timing and structure of the test.

Create a study plan: Develop a study plan that covers all sections of the test, including the optional Writing section, and create a schedule that allows you to cover all the material before test day.

Use high-quality study materials: Use study materials specifically designed for the ACT, such as official practice tests, study guides, and online resources.

Practice, practice, practice: Taking practice tests is one of the most effective ways to prepare for the ACT. Use official practice tests and practice materials to simulate test-day conditions and build your test-taking skills.

Analyze your mistakes: Review your practice test results and identify your weaknesses. Focus your study efforts on these areas and work to improve your understanding.

Time yourself: The ACT is a timed test, so it is important to practice good time management skills. Time yourself while taking practice tests and practice pacing yourself for each section.

Seek help if you need it: If you are struggling with a particular subject or section, seek help from a teacher, tutor, or online resources.

Take care of yourself: Take care of your physical and mental health by getting enough sleep, eating well, and exercising. A healthy body and mind can help you perform your best on test day.

By following these tips for the best way to study for the ACT, you can develop a comprehensive study plan to help you succeed. Remember to start preparing early, stay focused, and stay positive!

Can You Self-Study for the ACT?

Can you self-study for the ACT? Yes, you can self-study for the ACT, and many students do so successfully. Self-studying can be a great option for self-motivated students who have a flexible schedule or can’t afford to attend traditional test prep classes.

If you do well on the practice exam that you take for the first time, it is possible that you will not need to spend money on a preparation course.

Even while it is exceedingly uncommon to perform exceptionally well on the ACT the first time you take them, mostly because you aren’t familiar with the timeframe or the sort of questions, there are still some instances in which taking a preparation course would be a waste of money.

Two women talking in front of a laptop.


Creating a study timetable for yourself and sticking to it is the most critical aspect of doing your own studying. Even before you go ahead and take a diagnostic exam, you should sit down and set out a schedule of when you will devote time to studying.

Taking a preparatory course could be beneficial if you won’t be able to complete this activity successfully without an instructor’s guidance and the course’s structure.

If, on the other hand, you are well-organized and self-motivated, then studying on your own should be easy for you.

You are not obligated to attend a class on a weekly basis, which frees you up to create a schedule that works best for you rather than having to go to school.

Self-studying for the ACT requires discipline and self-motivation, but it can be an effective way to prepare for the test. If you are self-studying, make sure to give yourself enough time to cover all the material and stay organized and focused throughout the process.

How many Hours Should you Study for the ACT?

How many hours should you study for the ACT? The amount of time you should study for the ACT will depend on a variety of factors, such as your current level of preparation, the score you are aiming for, and how much time you have before the test date. However, most experts generally recommend studying for at least 2-3 months and devoting several hours per week to prepare.

As a rough guideline, consider studying for a total of 40-60 hours in the months leading up to the test.

This includes time spent taking practice tests, reviewing test content, and working on areas of weakness. The exact hours you need to study depend on your circumstances and study style.

It’s important to balance your study time with other activities, such as schoolwork, extracurricular activities, and social life. Rather than cramming, it’s better to develop a consistent study schedule that allows you to cover all the material gradually over time.

It is also helpful to break up your study sessions into smaller, manageable chunks rather than trying to study for long periods at a time.

Remember that the quality of study time is also important, not just quantity. Make sure you are using high-quality study materials, such as official practice tests and study guides, and that you are focused and engaged during your study sessions.

If you find that you are not making progress or struggling with certain areas, consider seeking help from a teacher, tutor, or online resources.

Why is it so Hard to Study for the ACT?

Why is it so hard to study for the ACT? Studying for the ACT can be challenging for a variety of reasons. Here are a few possible reasons why it can be difficult:

The test covers a broad range of content: The ACT covers a wide range of subjects, including English, math, reading, science, and writing. This means that students must be proficient in multiple subjects and be able to switch between subjects quickly.

The test is timed: The ACT is a timed test, and students must be able to manage their time effectively to complete all test sections. This can be difficult for some students, especially if they struggle with time management or have test anxiety.

The questions can be tricky: The ACT is designed to test critical thinking skills, and the questions can be tricky and require careful reading and analysis. Some students may need help to identify what the question is asking or to choose the best answer from several possible choices.

Pressure and stress: Preparing for the ACT can be stressful, especially for students who feel pressure to perform well. This can lead to anxiety and may make it harder to concentrate and retain information.

Lack of preparation or study skills: Some students may find it difficult to prepare for the ACT because they need better study skills or are not familiar with the content and format of the test.

Overall, studying for the ACT can be challenging, but with the right study materials, study habits, and mindset, students can overcome these difficulties and achieve success on test day. It is important to approach studying for the ACT with a positive attitude, set realistic goals, and give yourself enough time to prepare.

Want to learn more about the best way to study for the ACT? You’ve come to the right place. At AdmissionSight, we have over 10 years of experience guiding students through the competitive admissions process.

AdmissionSight can help you put your best foot forward when applying to college this fall. Contact us today for more information on our services.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign up now to receive insights on
how to navigate the college admissions process.