Welcome to the Magoosh 2 Month ACT Study Schedule! Two months is a good amount of time to get in some great prep before the exam–as long as you start right now and stay on track! Save the study schedule below on your computer or phone, print it out, tape it to your mirror, check it off–do whatever you need to do to keep yourself accountable. You will thank yourself when you ace the test. If you have more time before the test, have a gander at our Three Month ACT Study Schedule. If you have less time before your test, you might want to check out the One Month ACT Study Schedule instead. Or if you’ve really let it slide (oops): the One Week ACT Study Schedule.
How this study plan is organized
This is a weekly schedule that is designed to give you some flexibility. The ACT is important, but it shouldn’t be your entire life. You need time to do other things, and you’ll want to decide on your own which days you will devote to studying and which you won’t. Altogether, the weekly work should take you between 9 and 12 hours per week, so make sure you divide it up! Don’t try to do it all on Saturday–that would be one rough Saturday. Personally, I suggest studying for three days during the week for a couple hours each day (this could include some study hall time at school!) and devoting about 3 to 6 hours on the weekend for things like practice tests and review, but if your schedule is more erratic, you can adjust it to whatever works best for you. The point is to make sure you dedicate specific days to study, so whether that means regular study on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, or a marathon study session every Tuesday, decide in advance what your ACT study days will be.
By the time you finish this study plan, you will have completed six full ACT tests and hundreds of additional practice questions. That’s some solid prep!
Each week, there are four things to do, including:
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.
Blog Reading and Video Watching: These ACT blog posts will provide you with additional test tips and strategy advice. They’re a great supplement to the lesson videos.
Practice Test: On most weeks (likely on the weekend for most students) you’ll need approximately 3.5 hours for a full-length practice test. This study plan eases you into this commitment with two half-tests on the first two weeks as you get familiar with the material tested on the ACT. These practice tests are massively important for building up your stamina. The ACT is a marathon—you need to train to feel comfortable taking such a long test.
There are several ACT video lessons on Magoosh that we don’t have time for on this 2 month plan. This is particularly true regarding Math. There are also many Math video lessons that cover more foundational topics or take a more advanced look at them. When you have extra time, watch the lesson videos on the topics you feel you need the most. Or feel free to substitute or add in more advanced or more basic Math lessons depending on your comfort level. For extra practice, you can always practice with additional questions in Magoosh or use the practice questions on the ACT Student website.
Week 1: English and Math
Magoosh Lessons
Math
Intro to ACT Math
Backsolving (Word Problems)
VICs-Picking Numbers (Word Problems)
Mental Math: Estimation (General Math Strategies)
Assumptions & Estimation (Geometry) (The lesson videos above will help you learn how to attack math problems on the ACT using smart strategies instead of the methods you normally apply in school)
Properties of Real Numbers (Arithmetic and Fractions)
Intro to Decimals (Arithmetic and Fractions)
Fraction Properties – I (Arithmetic and Fractions)
Simplifying Expressions (Algebra)
Multiplying Expressions (Algebra)
Working with Percents (Percents and Ratios)
Percent Increases and Decreases (Percents and Ratios)
Intro to Ratios (Percents and Ratios)
Combining Ratios (Percents and Ratios)
Ratios and Rates (Percents and Ratios)
English
Intro to the ACT English Test
ACT English Question Types
Subject Verb Agreement
Verb Tense
Commas
Apostrophes
Dashes
Semicolons
Colons
Other Punctuation
Adjectives and Adverbs
Pronoun Cases
Idioms
Magoosh Practice
30 Math Questions (custom practice set for: Arithmetic & Fractions, Word Problems, and Algebra)
2 English Passages (30 Questions)
Review the text or video explanations for any questions you got wrong, and start keeping an error log with notes on the questions you struggled with. (After you complete the questions, you can do this by going to the “practice” tab and setting the question pool to “incorrect” and the number of questions to “no limit.”)
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
Complete the English and Math Sections from Test 1 in The Real ACT Prep Guide, 3rd Edition. Make sure you set aside the time to practice these back-to-back. You are practicing stamina!
Check your answers and continue to update your error log.
Week 2: Reading and Science
Magoosh Lessons
Reading
Introduction to the ACT Reading Test
ACT Reading Passage Types
ACT Reading Question Types
Approaching Passages
Wrong Answers
Example Passage
Basic Strategies
Science
Intro to the ACT Science Test
Intro to Science Test Passage Types
Intro to Science Question Types
Using Key Terms
Unfamiliar Terms
Understanding Tables, Graphs, and Figures
Finding Trends and Patterns
Linking Tables and Graphs
Magoosh Practice
2 Reading passages (20 questions)
2 Science Data Representation passages, 2 Science Research Summaries passages (go to the “practice” tab and set the “Section” to Data Representation and Research Summaries, respectively, under “custom practice”)
Review text and/or video explanations for incorrect answers, and update your error log.
Complete the Reading and Science Sections from Test 1 in The Real ACT Prep Guide, 3rd Edition. Make sure you set aside the time to practice these back-to-back. You are practicing stamina!
Check your answers and continue to update your error log.
Week 3: English and Math
Magoosh Lessons
Math
Triangles – Part I (Geometry)
Triangles – Part II (Geometry)
Right Triangles (Geometry)
Similar Triangles (Geometry)
Quadrilaterals (Geometry)
Circles (Geometry)
Circles, Arcs and Sectors (Geometry)
Rectangular Solids (Geometry)
Cylinders, Cones, Spheres (Geometry)
English
Run-on Sentences and Comma Splices
Sentence Fragments
Misplaced Modifiers
Parallelism
Singular and Plural
Conjunctions
Writer’s/Essay Goal
Adding or Deleting Sentences
Best Illustration Questions
Least Acceptable Questions
Introducing and Concluding Paragraphs
Ordering Sentences and Paragraphs
Transitions
Magoosh Practice
30 Math Problems set for: Geometry, Word Problems, Algebra, Percents & Ratios
2 English Passages (30 Questions)
Full Practice Test
Test 2 in The Real ACT Prep Guide, 3rd Edition.
You need 3.5 hours of COMPLETE SOLITUDE for this. No phone, no music, no internet, and no TV! Try to mimic the conditions of the test as closely as possible. Make sure to review your error log before you begin so that the mistakes you want to avoid are fresh in your mind. Make sure to find a quiet place and to complete the practice test in the allotted time limits. Remember that the ACT essay has changed and is no longer the same as the prompts in The Real Guide, 3rd edition–so don’t do the essay. We’ll talk about the essay starting next week in this study schedule, so for right now, don’t worry about it.
Week 4: Reading, Science, and Essay
Magoosh Lessons
Reading
Meaning of Words
Main Idea
Inference
Author’s Method (Purpose)
Author’s Voice
Science
Pacing on the ACT Science Test
How to Read the ACT Science Test
The Conflicting Viewpoints Passage
Math Problems on the ACT Science Test
The Scientific Method
Answering “Yes/No, Because” Questions
Finding Clues in the Answer Choices
Writing (if you are taking the essay, make sure to complete all the lessons and essay practice below!)
Introduction to the Essay
How to Wow the Graders
Time Management
Magoosh Practice
2 Reading passages (20 questions)
2 Conflicting Viewpoints passages (set the Section to “Conflicting Viewpoints”), 1 Research Summaries Passage, 1 Data Representation Passage
Review all incorrect answers. Go to the “practice” tab, set the question pool to “incorrect” and the number of questions to “no limit.” Continue to update your error log.
Test 3 from The Real Guide. Remember to find a quiet space, time yourself, and update your error log when you are done! Once again, don’t do the essay questions from the practice test in The Real Guide. The question types have changed. Starting with next week’s practice test, you’ll begin practicing for the new essay!
Week 5: English, Math, and Essay
Magoosh Lessons
English
Redundant Meanings
Ambiguous Pronouns
Concision and Wordiness
Clarity in Phrasing
Tone
Passive and Active Voice
Pronoun Agreement
Math
The Coordinate Plane (Coordinate Geometry)
Graphing Lines (Coordinate Geometry)
Slope (Coordinate Geometry)
Distance Between Two Points (Coordinate Geometry)
Reflections in the x-y plane (Coordinate Geometry)
Rotations in the x-y plane (Coordinate Geometry)
Regions of Inequalities (Coordinate Geometry)
FOIL Method (Algebra)
Two Equations, Two Unknowns – I (Algebra)
Inequalities – I (Algebra)
Writing
Example Essay Prompt
Planning the Essay
Coming up with Examples
Structuring the Essay
Magoosh Practice
30 Math Problems set for: Arithmetic & Fractions, Powers & Roots, Word Problems, Algebra, Percents & Ratios, Geometry, Coordinate Geometry and Integer Properties
2 English Passages (30 Questions)
Review all incorrect answers. Go to the “practice” tab, set the question pool to “incorrect” and the number of questions to “no limit.” Remember to update your error log.
Blog Reading (it’s about that point in the study schedule where studying and life might be getting to you a little bit, so let’s talk about getting refreshed!)
Test 4 from The Real Guide: English and Math. Remember to find a quiet space, time yourself, and update your error log when you are done!
If you are taking the essay, practice writing an essay on a topic from the ACT here or use one of Magoosh’s practice essays (go to the “practice” tab, select “practice test” and skip to the end of a practice test to find a prompt.)
Test 5 from The Real ACT Prep Guide. You need 3.5 hours of COMPLETE SOLITUDE for this. No phone, no music, no internet, and no TV! Try to mimic the conditions of the test as closely as possible. Make sure to review your error log before you begin so that the mistakes you want to avoid are fresh in your mind. Make sure to find a quiet place and to complete the practice test in the allotted time limits.
If you are taking the Writing test, make sure to write a complete essay. Again, do not use the essay questions at the end of the tests in The Real Guide. The new essays are much different! Use an essay you haven’t seen yet, either from the ACT website here or from Magoosh (go to the “practice” tab, select “practice test,” and skip to the essay section). Make sure to read the sample student essays and the rationale for their scores on the ACT prompt here after you complete that one.
Week 7: Everything
Magoosh Lessons
Math
Absolute Value Equations (Algebra)
Absolute Value Inequalities (Algebra)
Age Questions (Word Problems)
Intro to Motion Questions (Word Problems)
Average Speed (Word Problems)
Arithmetic Sequences (Word Problems)
Geometric Sequences (Word Problems)
Intro to ACT Data Interpretation (Data Interpretation)
Types of Graphics (Data Interpretation)
Tables of Values (Data Interpretation)
Intro to Complex Numbers (Extra Topics)
Logarithms (Extra Topics)
Circles in the x-y Plane (Coordinate Geometry)
Mean, Median and Mode (Statistics)
Weighted Averages (Statistics)
Magoosh Practice
20 English Questions
20 Math Questions set for all categories
20 Reading Questions
3 Science Passages (of any type)
Review all incorrect answers. Go to the “practice” tab, set the question pool to “incorrect” and the number of questions to “no limit.” Update your error log!
Full Practice Test
Use the practice test at the back of the Preparing for the ACT guide–it is the most recently released ACT test available! Print it out, and make sure you set aside the time to complete the test in one sitting. Remember to review your error log before you begin so you are on the lookout for anything that normally trips you up. I recommend taking this one at a library or other quiet place where you are surrounded by other people. If you are taking the essay, make sure to do the essay as well and ask a trusted friend, parent, or teacher to grade it using the ACT rubric. Check your answers and continue to update your error log.
Week 8: Everything + Final Review
(This week, rest is the most important thing. Make sure to get plenty of sleep each night, even if it comes at the expense of the practice suggested below. In fact, you should consider practice this week to be optional. The only essential components are that you review your error log, make your “cheat sheet” for test day review, pack your bag, and get sleep!)
Magoosh Lessons
Math
Introduction to Counting (Counting)
Fundamental Counting Principle (Counting)
Intro to Probability (Probability)
Arithmetic with Complex Numbers (Extra Topics)
Transformation of Functions (Extra Topics)
Formal Logic (Extra Topics)
Magoosh Practice
20 English Questions
20 Math Questions set for all categories
20 Reading Questions
3 Science Passages (of any type)
Review all incorrect answers. Go to the “practice” tab, set the question pool to “incorrect” and the number of questions to “no limit.” Update your error log!
Review your error log and re-watch any lessons on topics you have continued to struggle with.
Watch any additional math videos on topics you are uncertain about (or want to view the more advanced videos on)
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 (base 1 + base 2)/2 * height.”
Relax. Do something you enjoy. Go to bed early for at least several days before the test.
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:
#2 pencils (not mechanical)
calculator
watch
drink
snack
admissions ticket
photo ID
jacket or sweatshirt
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 three months of hard work and are ready to show it!