How Do I Develop a Personalized ACT Study Plan?
Taking on the ACT exam is a pretty impressive undertaking, so give yourself major credit for taking it on! To rock your study plan, start by setting up a solid study schedule. It’s very important to work backwards from your test date. Be realistic with yourself about how many hours/days per week you can study and stick to it! Discipline is important. What will you study each week? If you have two weeks to go, hold off on taking a full-length test and work on learning and practicing strategy. If you are a few months away, you can definitely add several full-length tests into your study schedule, but focus first on the content areas.
A great place to begin learning about the test itself is at www.actstudent.org. If you can, order an official copy of the Real ACT Prep Guide. It includes full-length practice tests as well as answers and explanations. Start doing some practice problems to get a feel for the format of the test and to begin to learn your personal strengths/weaknesses. Don’t worry if you get a lot of questions wrong at first. Create an ACT study folder and add a “Formula Sheet” and a “Vocab Sheet” where you can write any unfamiliar math formulas and vocabulary you come across in your studies. Make flashcards if that is an easy way for you to learn!
Which Strategy Will Work Best for Me?
It’s ok if your study plan is unique! Try out various strategies from the red ACT Official Guide, and see which ones work best for you (there’s no “one size fits all” approach to the ACT). Be patient if you don’t see your scores shoot up immediately. The new strategies may slow you down or mess you up at first but practicing them will give you extra tools on test day.
Once you’ve practiced enough problems so that you’ve refreshed your knowledge and test-taking skills, schedule a time for yourself to sit down and take a 4-hour test. Set a timer for each section and try and find a quiet room to mimic test-taking conditions. The goal is not to get every question correct, but to get a feel for what the timing of each section is like. You may not finish each test on your first try, but you’ll know what strategies you need to practice.
How Do I Know if My Study Plan Works?
Focus on your progress, and don’t be upset if your first couple practice tests aren’t as high-scoring as you’d like. Preparing for a test takes organization, practice and a positive mental attitude. There is no such thing as a “good” or a “bad” test-taker. Some students are just more familiar with the content areas and strategies than others. Test-taking is a learned skill, so don’t be discouraged. Create a checklist of your study sessions so you can reward yourself as you get work done!