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Rachel Kapelke-Dale

Quick ACT Prep in 20 Minutes Per Day (ACT Streaks)

quick act prep magoosh

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Need some quick ACT prep? You’re in the right place! Magoosh has put together an ACT study guide specially designed to give you the biggest bang for your buck in about 20 minutes, five days a week! If you need an ACT study guide in 2020 that will get you where you need to be fast, this is the study schedule for you.

A “streak” is a repeated behavior an individual commits to doing on a consistent basis without skipping a beat. Aiming for a streak is a fun and effective way to reach a goal, so that’s what we’re doing here! We’ll help you raise that ACT score by guiding you through this deliberate, well-rounded plan for quick ACT prep that’s also incredibly effective.

Ready? Great! Download your ACT study guide for quick ACT prep, then come back to find out how to use it!

 

Table of Contents

A quick note: if you want to devote more than 100 minutes each week to studying, you might want to follow our regular 1-month or 2-month study schedule. Also, keep in mind that you can always add extra practice questions or lessons to your daily assignments in this ACT study guide for 2020. In fact, we encourage you to do so!

 

Quick ACT Prep Overview of Assignments

As you’ll see throughout this ACT study guide, your daily assignment for your quick ACT prep sessions will come from:

Liam got a 35 on the ACT. Get a higher ACT score with Magoosh.
  • Practice Questions: You will be answering a lot of practice questions through this study schedule. At Magoosh, we carefully designed and analyze all of our questions to make sure they approximate the real ACT.
  • Video Explanations: Answers to practice questions are spelled out through text descriptions as well as short (1-2 minutes) video explanations. We highly recommend watching these videos to better grasp why you missed particular questions.
  • Quizzes: As part of your Magoosh course, you have access to dozens of quizzes that will help you master specific skills, such as comma placement and logarithms.
  • Practice Tests: Twice this month, you’ll need to set aside 3.5 hours to take a full-length practice test using official ACT exams from the ACT study guide 2020 (Official Guide) or Magoosh tests. If you need to split them up into four half-length exams, that’s okay. Just make sure to time yourself on every section to get your quick ACT prep!
  • Magoosh Lessons: Several days, we will ask you to watch a lesson on a topic you’re struggling with. If you aren’t sure what to watch, choose one of the “Related Lessons” linked to a practice question you missed. On your dashboard, you’ll need to scroll down to see it. Here’s an example:

 
magoosh act lesson screen

 

Materials and Resources


 

The ACT Streaks One-Month Study Schedule

Week 1: Commit to completing a 5-day streak this week!

 
“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” — Mark Twain
 

Week 1, Day 1: English
Week 1, Day 2: Math
  • (13 min) Go to Math Practice Questions and select “All Subjects,” “Adaptive,” “Unanswered,” “10 questions,” “10 minutes,” and “Practice Mode.” Make sure to read the answer explanations when you’re done!
  • (7 min) Watch Assigning Variables Lesson. Short on time? Speed lesson up to 1.25 or 1.5.
  • math practice act magoosh

  • Have extra time? Look through the 10 questions you answered today and choose one that you missed. Watch a lesson on this topic or take quizzes in that subject group. For example, if you missed a question on absolute values, take an “Absolute Value Inequalities” quiz. Remember that quizzes are found on the lessons page.
Week 1, Day 3: Reading
Week 1, Day 4: Science
  • (13 min) Watch How to Read the ACT Science Test lesson.
  • (7 min) Take “Using Key Terms” quiz.
  • Extra time? Take a complete Science test. You can either set an alarm for 35 minutes and attack the science section from one of the practice tests found in the Official Guide or use Magoosh: “All Subjects,” “Unanswered,” “6 Tasks,” “35 Minutes.”
Week 1, Day 5: English
  • (20 min) Go to English Practice and select “Unanswered,” “2 tasks,” “15 minutes,” and “Quiz Mode.” Make sure to read the answer explanations when you’re done!
  • Have extra time? Watch Commas or Subject Verb Agreement lesson. You can also work through an English passage in the Official Guide. Time yourself for 8 minutes and read the answer explanations.
Week 1, Weekend
  • (190-230 min) Take an official practice test! You can either take an exam in your Official Guide or use the free PDF provided by the ACT (the test starts several pages into the document).
  • (60 min) Review answers online or in the ACT study guide.

This is a major milestone. Find a quiet place where you’ll be uninterrupted for 3.5 hours (4 hours, if you’re taking the essay). Turn off your phone and use a timer for each section. Also, make sure to spend at least an hour reviewing your mistakes. When marking your test, do not write the correct answers next to the questions, just mark them as wrong. That way you can take a second stab at them before reading the explanations.

 
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Week 2: Commit to completing a 5-day streak this week!

 
“Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.” — Oprah Winfrey
 

Week 2, Day 1: Math
  • (10 min) Review the math formulas you need to memorize for the ACT. Print them out or make flashcards of at least 10 of them. Keep the printout or flashcards handy!
  • (10) Watch a lesson in one of your weak areas. Not sure what to watch? Try “Arithmetic with Complex Numbers,” “Logarithms II” or “Graphs of Polynomials.”
  • Extra time? Go to Math Practice Questions and select “Percents and Ratios” and “Powers and Roots.” Answer 10 questions in 10 minutes and read or watch answer explanations. If you have even more time, watch one of the lessons on this topic (we recommend Ratios and Rates).
Week 2, Day 2: Reading
  • (7 min) Watch Comparison Passages.
  • (13 min) Take two “Comparison Passages” quizzes. After you’ve answered the five questions and read the answer explanations for the first quiz, take a second (there are multiple “Comparison Passages” quizzes, but you can’t access the second until you finish the first).
  • Extra time? Take the “Meaning of Words” quiz.
Week 2, Day 3: Science
Week 2, Day 4: English
  • (20 min) Go to English Practice and select 2 Tasks for 20 minutes (but finish in 18!). Skim answer explanations for questions you miss.
  • Extra time after your quick ACT prep session? Watch at least two lessons related to questions you missed. If you’re not sure what to watch, check out Writer’s Goal and Adding or Deleting Sentences.
Week 2, Day 5: Math
  • (11 min) If you’re fairly strong at math, watch Degrees and Radians. If you want to stick to more introductory topics for now, watch Circles.
  • (7 min) If you’re solid in math, take the “Trigonometry” Quiz (waaaaay down on the lessons page). If you’re still building up to that, take one of the “Geometry” quizzes. Read answer explanations.
  • (2 min) Read ACT Number Properties.
  • Extra time? Go to Math Practice Questions and select “Geometry” and “Trigonometry” and answer 10 questions. Watch at least one lesson linked to a question you answer incorrectly.
Week 2, Weekend
  • (optional, 10 minutes) If you’re taking the essay, watch Planning the Essay.
  • (optional, 14 minutes) If you’re taking the essay, watch How to Wow the Graders.
  • (optional, 40 minutes) Look through the exam you took last weekend and watch at least four lessons that relate to questions you missed.
  • (optional, 25 minutes) Improve your weaknesses! From your Magoosh dashboard, answer two passages from the subject you struggle with most. Make sure to read or watch the answer explanations.
  • English (2 tasks, 16 minutes)
  • Reading (2 tasks, 18 minutes)
  • Science (4 tasks, 20 minutes)
  • Math (20 questions, 20 minutes)

 
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Week 3: Commit to completing a 5-day streak this week!

 
“When we do the best we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life or in the life of another.” — Helen Keller
 

Week 3, Day 1: Reading
  • (7 min) Watch Author’s Voice.
  • (13 min) Go to Reading Practice and select 1 Task for 10 minutes (but try to finish in 8-9!). Read or watch answer explanations.
  • Extra time? Take “Author’s Voice” quiz. You might also watch a lesson related to a question you missed. If you’re not sure what to watch, check out Using Key Words.)
Week 3, Day 2: Science
Week 3, Day 3: English
Week 3, Day 4: Math
Week 3, Day 5: Reading
  • (6 min) Take “Meaning of Words” quiz and read answer explanations.
  • (7 min) Take “Main Idea” quiz and read answer explanations.
  • (7 min) Take “Inference” quiz and read answer explanations.
  • Extra time? Work on your pacing. You will have a little more than 8 minutes to answer each reading passage. See if you can finish a passage in less time than this. Find the Reading section from one of the practice tests in the Official Guide or click on Magoosh Reading Practice, hone in on a passage, and fire away!
Week 3, Weekend
  • (190-230 min) Take another practice test! You can either take an exam in your Official Guide, use the Magoosh printable practice test, or take a practice test in your Magoosh course (which will give you a score estimate!). To take the test through Magoosh, click on “Practice Tests” at the top of your dashboard. Whichever method you use, make sure to time yourself!
  • (60 min) Review answers online or in the ACT study guide.

Find a quiet place where you’ll be uninterrupted for 3.5 hours (4 hours, if you’re taking the essay). Turn off your phone and use a timer for each section. Also, make sure to spend at least an hour reviewing your mistakes. When marking your test, do not write the correct answers next to the questions, just mark them as wrong. That way you can take a second stab at them before reading the explanations.

 
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Week 4: Commit to completing a 5-day streak this week!

 
“I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.” –Thomas Jefferson
 

Week 4, Day 1: Science
Week 4, Day 2: English
Week 4, Day 3: Math
  • (8 min) Go to Math Practice Questions and answer 5 questions in 5 minutes; read or watch answer explanations.
  • (7 min) Watch a lesson related to a topic you’re weak in. Not sure what to watch? Check out Growth and Decay or Exponential Equations.
  • (5 min) Review math formulas. Don’t just stare at the page, see if you can generate the formulas yourself on a blank piece of paper.
  • Extra time? Take quizzes related to the lessons you just watched or work on your pacing with practice questions from your Official Guide or Magoosh Math Practice (1 question per minute!).
Week 4, Day 4: Reading
Week 4, Day 5: Science
  • (15 min) Go to Science Practice and select 2 tasks in 10 minutes. When you’re done, read or watch answer explanations.
  • (5 min) Review ACT Tips for Test Day.
  • Extra time? Relax. No cramming! Do something you enjoy and go to bed early.

 
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Test Day

It’s test day, which means no last minute prep–not even quick ACT prep! Do some light exercise, eat a full breakfast, and give yourself plenty of time to get to the test center. Don’t forget your #2 pencils, calculator, watch, drink, snack, admissions ticket, and photo ID.

You can walk into the test confident that you have put in a month of hard work and are ready to show it!

A Final Word

There you have it! Our 2020 ACT study guide designed for effective, quick ACT prep. Can 20 minutes a day make a difference? They can make a huge difference–and your score will reflect this! Stay motivated, keep working smart and hard, and you’ll get where you want to be. Good luck!

About Rachel Kapelke-Dale

Rachel is one of Magoosh’s Content Creators. She writes and updates content on our High School and GRE Blogs to ensure students are equipped with the best information during their test prep journey. Rachel has helped students around the world prepare for various standardized tests, including the SAT, ACT, TOEFL, GRE, and GMAT, and she is one of the authors of our Magoosh ACT Prep Book. Rachel has a Bachelor of Arts in Comparative Literature from Brown University, an MA in Cinematography from the Université de Paris VII, and a Ph.D. in Film Studies from University College London. For over a decade, Rachel has honed her craft as a fiction and memoir writer and public speaker. Her work has appeared in over a dozen online and print publications, including Vanity Fair Hollywood. When she isn't strategically stringing words together at Magoosh, you can find Rachel riding horses or with her nose in a book. LinkedIn


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