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Jessica Ellis

9 Tips for Making Your Study Time Count

Here are some strategies to make the most out of your time to study: 



  1. Start studying two hours after waking up. This is when you are most alert and ready to focus/learn. So, if you wake up at 8am, make sure you get to a place you can study by 10am.

  3. Go somewhere quiet where you aren’t distracted. It usually helps to leave the house so that you aren’t distracted by wanting to get a snack from the kitchen, a sibling making noise etc. You should also silence your phone and close out your apps, with the exception of the ones we recommend you use to study!

  5. Use a timer to focus and take breaks. You can download Magoosh’s free Study Timer app for iPhone/iPad in advance and then use it to time yourself on exam sections and keeping yourself on pace.

  7. Start your study session with practice questions. You can use Magoosh’s free ACT Practice Test PDF with video explanations at the end! If you have more than a day, aim to do a full practice exam. If not, do a few questions in each section. Be sure to check your answers and watch the video explanations (scroll to the very end of the PDF) for the questions that you got wrong.



  1. Schedule a workout later for in the day. Exercise will help your brain process everything you’ve learned and help you stay sharp for more studying later.

  3. Review your weak areas and focus on where you can make improvements. Go back through your practice exam sections to determine which types of questions you tend to get wrong. There are some areas you will be able to improve with a bit more practice or learning a technique. Other question types, like difficult math questions, may take longer to learn. This is all about being strategic.



  1. Teach what you’ve learned to someone else. Explaining something is one of the best ways to solidify it in your mind. You can “teach” what you’ve learned to a friend, parent, or even a pet! Just saying it out-loud will help.

  3. Go to bed and get a good night’s sleep. Sleep is when your brain replays the patterns that it has learned during this day. It is crucial that you sleep well in order to remember what you have learned. Be sure to prioritize sleep for a few days leading up to the exam and not just the night before the exam. Otherwise, your sleep deficit may impact you the day of the test.

Anytime of Day


  • Use your time wisely. Commuting to the library or to school can be a good opportunity to prepare on the go. There are lessons and practice questions accessible through this app, which are perfect for mobile studying. Every minute counts!


PS. Cramming, or last minute studying, is not a substitute for dedicated, long term studying. Your brain needs time and practice to form new connections and gain new knowledge. There are no quick hacks for getting smarter!

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About Jessica Ellis

Jessica helps make the Magoosh products engaging and effective study tools. She has over eight years of experience in education and curriculum design having earned her BS in Science, Technology and International Affairs from Georgetown and her Master in Mind, Brain and Education from Harvard. When she is not thinking about product design, you will find her on the ski slopes!

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