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Kristin Fracchia

One Month ACT Study Schedule

smiling girl pointing to calendar representing act one month study plan

Download this 1-Month ACT Study Schedule!

So you have one month until your ACT test date, and you are ready to commit to some serious studying. You’re aiming for scores that demonstrate your highest potential—Average ACT scores just won’t cut it.

Sound like you? Then check out the One Month ACT Study Plan below! If you follow this plan, by the time you walk into the testing center, you will have completed six full ACT tests and hundreds of additional practice questions—that’s some pretty good prep under your belt!

(If you have more or less than one month to prepare, we have other ACT study schedules as well, ranging from three months all the way to one week before the big day!)

Table of Contents

Materials and Resources

How this Study Plan is Organized

This schedule assumes that you have at least 3 days a week to devote to your study and about 2-3.5 hours on each of these days (2-4.0 hours if you’re preparing for the essay). It also assumes that you will be able to set aside 4 to 4.5 hours on a couple of weekends for a practice test, plus some review time. Hopefully, this is a manageable amount of study time balanced with your schoolwork and activities.

Note: if you are taking the test with extra time, you’ll need to build in more time based on whether you have received time-and-a-half or double time/multi-day testing.

If it seems like too much, you can adjust the plan to focus primarily on reviewing your weaknesses and taking practice sections, or you can divide each day between two days, so that you are doing about an hour to an hour and a half of prep a day. If you are unable to set aside a 4-5 hour chunk of time on the weekend, you can split this up into two sessions. It’s not ideal, but it is certainly better than nothing.

Each week, there are 3 things to do, along with some optional practice suggestions:

Magoosh Lessons

Watch our lesson videos for strategy and background information. If you’re completely comfortable with a topic already (for example, with triangle properties), you might want to skip through a lesson quickly. That’s all right, to an extent, but never pass over a lesson completely because there might be very helpful tips and tricks you didn’t know.

Magoosh Practice

Click the “Practice” tab at the top of the page from within your Magoosh account, and you can customize a practice session that contains the topics mentioned for each week. For each and every question you get wrong, watch the explanation video. This is the most important part of your preparation—you need to isolate where you make mistakes and learn how to avoid them.

Practice Test

One day a week, you’ll need either approximately 1.5 to 2 hours (for a half test) or 3.5 hours (for a full-length practice test) using the official released ACT tests or Magoosh tests. This is massively important for building up your stamina. The ACT is a marathon—you need to train to feel comfortable taking such a long test.

Optional Practice

Throughout the schedule, we’ll link to ACT blog posts and additional videos that will provide you with additional test tips and strategy advice. They’re a great supplement to the lesson videos.
You will also see links to short quizzes at the bottom of some lesson groups; these will help you practice specific concepts and skills.

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The ACT One Month Study Plan

Week 1

Day 1 (2-3 hours)

Introduction

Familiarize yourself with the structure, timing, and strategies of the test. (1 hour)

Math

Learn which math concepts you will be tested on. (1 hour)

  • Skim the ACT Math page on the Magoosh ACT Blog. (10 minutes)
  • Watch at least 5 Magoosh Math lessons on the topics you most need to review. (45 minutes)
  • Make a list of the other videos you need to watch when this homework assignment comes up in the future (it will!). There are a lot of math lesson videos in Magoosh, and you only have one month, so we want you to focus on what you need to review the most in this section. (5 minutes)

 
In addition to the above, watch these essential math strategy videos to learn some tricks for solving ACT math questions in a “non-math class” way. (30 minutes)

 

    Review this list of ACT math formulas to know: ACT Math Facts and Formulas. (15 minutes)

    Remember, unlike the SAT, the ACT does not have a list of geometry formulas at the beginning of the test!
     

Day 2 (3 hours)

English

Watch these essential Magoosh ACT English video lessons. (60 minutes)

Day 3 (4.0 hours if you’re taking the essay, 2.5 hours if you’re not)

Reading

Watch these key Magoosh ACT Reading video lessons. (30 minutes)

 

Answer 40 Reading questions on Magoosh by clicking on Custom Practice and choosing Reading for the Section. (35 minutes)

Review the Magoosh text and/or video explanations for any questions you got wrong and continue to update your error log. (15-30 minutes)

Science

Take a break and then complete the Science practice questions available online from the ACT; make sure to review your error log before you begin. (35 minutes)

Check your answers and update your error log. (15-30 minutes)

Essay

If you are taking the essay, check out this blog post for advice on approaching the ACT essay question, and watch the following essential Magoosh ACT Writing lesson videos. (90 minutes)

 

Practice outlining an essay for this sample ACT Writing question. Then, review the essay scoring guidelines and read the sample essays for this prompt. Pay attention to what gets an essay a high score.
 

Weekend (4.5-5.0 hours)

Take a Practice Test (4 hours with breaks)

There is a complete practice test at the end of Preparing for the ACT that you can use for this diagnostic. I’m scheduling this practice for the weekend because most students will likely have more time today than on a weekday. If it’s better for you to take a practice test during the weekday, you can move your practice tests to any day during the week.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this guide, if you are really struggling to find enough time in a day, you can split this practice test over two days. It’s not ideal, but doing at least two sections back to back will help you practice the endurance and mental gear shifting required by the ACT more than just doing one section at a time.

Make sure that you can find a quiet space with NO DISTRACTIONS. No TV, no internet, and no cell phone. Notify people in your household that you are taking a practice test and hang a “Do Not Disturb” sign on your door. Even better, enlist a parent or other responsible family member to act as a proctor and come in to periodically announce “time’s up” for each section.

On the ACT, the essay section is optional. If you are taking the essay, make sure to plan and write a full practice essay in the allotted time. If you are not taking the essay, you can skip the essay on this practice test. Ask a parent, teacher, or literary older sibling or friend to read over your essay, provide you with feedback, and score it using the ACT essay rubric.

Review your Practice Test (30 minutes to 1 hour)

Complete the following tasks as you review:

  1. Rank your sections from strongest to weakest. Is there a big gap between your strongest and weakest section or were your scores pretty close across the board? The greater the difference between your stronger and weaker sections, the more you will want to focus any extra practice time you have on your weaknesses so these lower scores aren’t pulling your composite score down.
     
  2. Examine any time management issues you had. Where did you run out of time and why? Did you make sure to take a guess on every question before time ran out?
     
  3. Review every single question you got wrong and start keeping an error log. In your error log, list each question you got wrong, noting:
    • Why you got it wrong
    • What the correct answer is
    • What you would do next time to avoid making the same mistake

 

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Week 2

Day 1 (2-3 hours)

Tips & Strategies

Watch Stress Reduction Techniques.

Math

Watch 5 Magoosh ACT Math lesson videos on the math concepts you most need to review. (30-60 minutes)


 

Answer 25 Math questions on Magoosh by clicking on Custom Practice and choosing Math for the Section. You can further customize these questions to your weaknesses by selecting categories to practice, such as Coordinate Geometry or Trigonometry. (25 minutes)

Review the Magoosh text and/or video explanations for any questions you got wrong and continue to update your error log. (15-30 minutes)

Complete Math practice questions from the “Improving Your Math Score” chapter in The Official ACT Prep Guide. (~35 minutes)

Check your answers and the guide’s explanations and update your error log. (15-30 minutes)
 

Day 2 (3-3.5 hours)

Science

Review this list of science topics. These are some of the terms that could potentially appear on the handful of questions that require actual scientific knowledge. Create a list of definitions for any terms you don’t know, but do not fret too much about it. This is primarily to help you feel more comfortable with science; only a few questions on the test will require outside knowledge. (30 minutes)

Watch the following key Magoosh ACT Science video lessons on reading tables, figures, and graphs and finding patterns and trends on and between them. This is by far the most essential skill you can build to boost your Science score. (25 minutes)

 

Complete all the Science practice questions from the “Improving Your Science Score” chapter in The Official ACT Prep Guide. (~30 minutes)

Check your answers and the guide’s explanations and update your error log with notes on the questions you struggled with. (15-30 minutes)

English

Watch these essential Magoosh ACT English video lessons. (35 minutes)

Take a break and then complete 45 Magoosh English practice questions; make sure to review your error log before you begin so you can be watching out for the same question types that tripped you up the first time. (30 minutes)

Review the video/text explanations for questions you struggled with, and update your error log. (15-30 minutes)
 

Day 3 (3-4 hours)

Reading

Watch these key Magoosh ACT Reading lesson videos. (60 minutes)

Complete the Reading practice questions from the “Improving Your Reading Score” chapter in The Official ACT Prep Guide. (~30 minutes)

Check your answers and the guide’s explanations and update your error log with notes on the questions you struggled with. (15-30 minutes)

If you are not taking the essay (or if you have time), take a break and then complete the Reading questions available online from the ACT; make sure to review your error log before you begin so you can be watching out for the same question types that tripped you up the first time. Continue to update your error log after you review your questions. (45 minutes)

Essay

If you are taking the essay, watch the following Magoosh ACT Writing lesson videos. (30 minutes)

 

Using the practice test feature on Magoosh, skip to the Writing section and practice planning, outlining, and writing the essay provided. (40 minutes)
 

Weekend (4 hours)

Practice Test

Take Practice Test 1 in The Official ACT Prep Guide. Make sure to review your error log before you begin so that the mistakes you want to avoid are fresh in your mind. And all the same rules as Week 1, Weekend apply. Make sure to find a quiet place and to complete the practice test in the allotted time limits. (3.5 hours)

Update your error log after you are done. (30 minutes)
 

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Week 3

Day 1 (2.5 hours)

Tips & Strategies

Watch at least one lesson from Pacing & Guessing Strategies.

Science

Watch the following Magoosh ACT Science strategy lesson videos. (25 minutes)

Complete the Science Test from Practice Test 2 in The Official ACT Prep Guide. (35 minutes)

Check your answers and the guide’s explanations and update your error log with notes on the questions you struggled with. (15-30 minutes)

Take a break and then complete the Science Test from Practice Test 3; make sure to review your error log before you begin so you can be watching out for the same question types that tripped you up the first time. (35 minutes)

Check your answers and the guide’s explanations and continue to update your error log. (15-30 minutes)
 

Day 2 (3-4 hours)

Math

Watch 5 Magoosh ACT Math lesson videos on the math concepts you most need to review. (30-60 minutes)


 

Complete the Math Test from Practice Test 2 in The Official ACT Prep Guide. (60 minutes)

Check your answers and the guide’s explanations and update your error log with notes on the questions you struggled with. (15-30 minutes)

Take a break and then complete the Math Test from Practice Test 3; make sure to review your error log before you begin so you can be watching out for the same question types that tripped you up the first time. (60 minutes)

Check your answers and the guide’s explanations and continue to update your error log. (15-30 minutes)
 

Day 3 (2.5 hours)

Tips & Strategies

Watch Test Day and the Week Before.

Reading

Watch the following Magoosh ACT Reading video lessons. (25 minutes)

 

Complete the Reading Test from Practice Test 2 in The Official ACT Prep Guide. (35 minutes)

Check your answers and the guide’s explanations and update your error log with notes on the questions you struggled with. (15-30 minutes)

Take a break and then complete the Reading Test from Practice Test 3; make sure to review your error log before you begin so you can watch for the same question types that tripped you up the first time. (35 minutes)

Check your answers and the guide’s explanations and continue to update your error log. (15-30 minutes)
 

Weekend

Option 1: Rest

Take a break! I generally recommend that students take it easy the weekend before the test so they are not burned out when they take it for real the following weekend. If you feel like you want to do some more prep, this is a good time to brush up on any grammar or math concepts you are struggling with or do extra practice on your weakest sections of the ACT.

Option 2: Practice Test

If you feel like you’ve got the grit to do another practice test this weekend (and be recovered for the real deal next weekend), or if you slacked on previous practice test weekends, you can do Practice Test 3 from The Official ACT Prep Guide and follow the instructions for Week 2, Weekend.
 

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Week 4

Day 1 (3 hours)

English

Watch these essential Magoosh ACT English lesson videos, (60 minutes)

  • All of the lessons under the heading Rhetorical Strategy, Organization, and Style


 

Do a custom practice set of 40-50 English questions on Magoosh ACT. (30 minutes)

Check your answers and the guide’s explanations and update your error log with notes on the questions you struggled with. (15-30 minutes)

If time allows, take a break and then complete the English Test from Practice Test 3; make sure to review your error log before you begin so you can be watching out for the same question types that tripped you up the first time. (45 minutes)

Check your answers and the guide’s explanations and continue to update your error log. (15-30 minutes)

Go to bed early for at least several days before the test.
 

Day 2 (3-3.5 hours)

Science

Watch the following Magoosh ACT Science advanced strategy lesson videos. (25 minutes)


 

Do a custom practice set of 30-40 Science questions on Magoosh ACT. (35 minutes)

Check your answers and the guide’s explanations and update your error log with notes on the questions you struggled with. (15-30 minutes)

Take a break and then complete 40 Science questions, either from the practice problems in Preparing for the ACT or from Magoosh Science; make sure to review your error log before you begin so you can be watching out for the same question types that tripped you up the first time. (35 minutes)

Check your answers and the guide’s explanations and continue to update your error log. (15-30 minutes)

Math

Answer 40 Magoosh Math questions by clicking on Custom Practice and choosing Math for the Section; make sure to review your error log before you begin so you can be on the lookout for the same question types that tripped you up the first time. (35 minutes)
 

Day 3 (1.5 hours)

Final Review

Review your entire error log and make yourself a “cheat sheet” of final reminders to review the morning of the exam. This can include things like “Watch out for run-on sentences!” and “The area of a trapezoid is (base1 + base2)/2 * height.” (1 hour)

Review these last-minute test day tips: ACT Tips for Test Day and pack your bag. (30 min)

Relax. Do something you enjoy. Go to bed early.
 

Test Day

It’s test day, which means no last-minute 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.

Review your list of last-minute pointers before you go into the testing center so you can walk into the test confident that you have put in a month of hard work and are ready to show it!

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Additional Resources

These materials aren’t required to use this study guide, but are very helpful and highly recommended!

ACT Study Guide

If you’re looking for a little more help as you use this schedule, check out our ACT Study Guide. It includes additional resources to accompany this One Month Study Schedule, including a printable study calendar and printable checkpoints to help you track your progress.

ACT Practice Test

Need an extra practice test to help with pacing and endurance? Magoosh’s full-length practice ACT features over 200 of our premium questions in printable, PDF form. Take it like you would any other timed practice test, then watch the explanation videos for the questions you missed.

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Conclusion

Well, there you have it: how to study for the ACT in one month! If you read through the entire guide in one sitting—or even if you just skimmed it—and you find yourself overwhelmed with all the information, don’t be! Remember that Magoosh’s One Month ACT Study Plan is designed for you to dedicate a couple of hours during the four days a week you set aside for ACT prep.

Just focus on taking the plan day by day and you’ll find that the lessons are easier to manage than you might have thought. Studying for the ACT in one month may seem like a tall order, but if you follow this plan as closely as possible, you’ll be sure to get the ACT scores of your dreams!

Questions? Comments? Leave them below and someone on our team will respond ASAP! 🙂

About Kristin Fracchia

Dr. Kristin Fracchia makes sure Magoosh's sites are full of awesome, free resources that can be found by students prepping for standardized tests. With a PhD from UC Irvine and degrees in Education and English, she’s been working in education since 2004 and has helped students prepare for standardized tests, as well as college and graduate school admissions, since 2007. She enjoys the agony and bliss of trail running, backpacking, hot yoga, and esoteric knowledge.


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