How to Study for the ACT® | 15 Ways & Tips to Prepare

The ACT® is a standardized test that is used for college admissions. It is a challenging test, but with the right preparation, you can do well.

This article will discuss how to study for the ACT® by showing you 15 ways to study for the ACT® in 2024. We will cover everything from taking practice tests to developing effective study habits.

We will also provide some tips on how to stay motivated and focused during your preparation.

So, if you are ready to start studying for the ACT®, read on!

15 Ways to Prepare for the ACT

Before going for the ACT, you should find out how to study for the ACT. In this section, you will learn to study for the ACT by learning the 15 ways to prepare.

The 15 ways to prepare for the ACT include:

1. Take a practice ACT. 

One of the way on how to study for the ACT® is taking practice tests. This will give you a baseline score and help you identify your strengths and weaknesses.

Here are the steps involved:

  • Go to the ACT website: and click the “Free ACT Official Online Practice Test” link.
  • Create an account or sign in to your existing account.
  • Select the “English” section to begin the practice test.
  • Answer all of the questions in the section.
  • When you are finished, click on the “Submit” button.
  • You will receive your score report immediately.

2. Set a target score. 

This will help you stay motivated and focused during your studies.

Here are some factors to consider when setting your target score:

  • Your current academic standing: If you are a strong student, you may want to set a target score of 30 or higher. If you are a weaker student, you may want to set a more realistic target score of 25 or 26.
  • Your desired college or university: Some Colleges and universities have minimum ACT scores that they require for admission. You will need to research the requirements of the colleges or universities you are interested in to determine your target score.
  • Your financial aid eligibility: Some colleges and universities offer financial aid to students who meet certain ACT score requirements. You may want to set a target score to make you eligible for financial aid.

3. Create a study schedule. 

This will help you make the most of your time and ensure you are prepared for all test sections.

Here are some things to consider when creating your study schedule:

  • How much time do you have? How many weeks or months do you have before your test date? This will help you determine how much time you can study each week.
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses? What sections of the ACT do you feel confident in, and what sections do you need to work on? This will help you prioritize your study time.
  • What resources do you have? Can you access practice tests, tutoring, or other study materials? This will help you determine how you can best use your time. 

4. Use official ACT practice materials. 

These materials will give you the best practice for the actual test.

Here are some official ACT practice materials that you can use:

  • The Official ACT Prep Guide: This book includes eight full-length practice tests, 400+ digital flashcards, and helpful tips and tools to help you do your best on the ACT.
  • The Official ACT Prep and Subject Guides: This set includes the Official ACT Prep Guide, as well as subject-specific guides for English, math, reading, and science.
  • The Official ACT Online Prep: This online platform offers a variety of practice materials, including full-length practice tests, quizzes, and flashcards.
  • The Official ACT Practice Tests: ACT offers several free online practice tests.
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5. Focus on your weak areas. 

Another way How to study for the ACT® is to focus on your weak areas. Don’t just study the sections that you are already good at. Make sure to spend time on the sections you need to improve.

Here are some tips on how to focus on your weak areas:

  • Identify your weaknesses. The first step is to identify the areas where you need improvement. This can be done by taking a practice test, reviewing your grades, or asking for feedback from teachers or tutors.
  • Set specific goals. Once you know your weaknesses, you need to set specific goals for improvement. For example, you might set a goal of increasing your score in math by 10 points or improving your reading comprehension skills by 20%.
  • Find the right resources. Various resources are available to help you improve your weak areas. These resources include textbooks, practice tests, online courses, and tutoring.
  • Create a study plan. You must create a study plan once you have found the right resources. This plan should include a schedule for studying, as well as specific activities that you will complete.

6. Learn the ACT format and timing. 

The ACT is a timed test, so another step in how to study the ACT® is by learning how to manage your time effectively is important.

Here is a brief overview of the ACT format and timing:

  • The ACT is a standardized test that measures a student’s skills in five core areas: English, math, reading, science, and writing (optional).
  • The ACT is 2 hours and 55 minutes long, including breaks.
  • The test is divided into four multiple-choice sections: English (75 questions, 45 minutes), math (60 questions, 60 minutes), reading (40 questions, 35 minutes), and science (40 questions, 35 minutes).
  • There is also an optional writing section that consists of an essay prompt and 40 minutes to write the essay.
  • The ACT is scored on a scale of 1 to 36, with 36 being the highest possible score.

7. Practice answering questions under timed conditions. 

This will help you get used to the test pressure and ensure you can finish all sections on time.

Here are some tips on how to study for the ACT® by practicing answering questions under timed conditions:

  • Take practice tests under timed conditions. This is the best way to simulate the actual ACT experience.
  • Start with a timer. This will help you get used to the feeling of being under pressure.
  • Answer the easy questions first. This will give you more time to think about the more difficult questions.
  • Skip questions that you don’t know how to answer. You can come back to them later if you have time.
  • Use the answer grid to track your progress. This will help you make sure you don’t miss any questions.
  • Don’t panic if you run out of time. Just do your best to answer the remaining questions.

8. Read strategically.

The ACT reading section tests your ability to read and understand passages quickly and efficiently. You can use certain strategies to improve your reading comprehension in this section.

Here are some tips for reading strategically:

  • Preview the text: Before you start reading, take a few minutes to preview the text. This includes reading the title, headings, subheadings, and any visuals. This will give you an overview of the text and help you identify the main points.
  • Ask questions: As you read, ask yourself questions about the text. This will help you stay engaged and make sure you understand the information.
  • Take notes: Taking notes is a great way to keep track of the text’s information and ensure you understand it. You can take notes in various ways, such as highlighting, underlining, or jotting down key points.
  • Summarize the text: After you finish reading, summarize the text in your own words. This will help you solidify your understanding of the information and identify areas where you need more clarification.
  • Review the text: Once you have summarized it, review it again to ensure you understand the main points. You can also use this opportunity to identify areas where you need more research.

9. Master math concepts. 

The ACT math section tests your knowledge of a variety of math concepts. Make sure you have a strong foundation in these concepts before taking the test.

Here are some tips to help you on your journey:

  • Start with the basics. Make sure you have a solid foundation in the basic math concepts before you move on to more advanced topics.
  • Practice regularly. The more you practice, the better you will understand and apply math concepts.
  • Find a good learning resource. Many great math resources are available, such as textbooks, online courses, and tutoring.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you struggle with a particular concept, don’t hesitate to ask a teacher, tutor, or friend for help.
  • Be patient. Mastering math concepts takes time and effort. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results immediately. Just keep practicing, and you will eventually see improvements.
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10. Use the calculator wisely. 

The calculator is allowed in the ACT math section, but you don’t want to rely on it too much. Ensure you know how to solve basic math problems without the calculator.

Here are some tips on how to study for the ACT® by using a calculator wisely:

  • Know your calculator. Before you start using your calculator, take some time to learn how it works. This includes understanding the different functions and buttons.
  • Use the calculator for the right tasks. Don’t use your calculator for tasks you can do mentally or with pencil and paper. This will only slow you down and make you more likely to make mistakes.
  • Be careful with rounding. When you use your calculator, pay attention to the rounding. This is especially important when you are working with decimals.
  • Check your answers. Once you have used your calculator to answer a question, be sure to check your answer. This is especially important if you are using a scientific calculator.

11. Become familiar with science passages. 

The ACT science section tests your ability to understand and interpret scientific passages. You can use certain strategies to improve your performance in this section.

Here are some tips on how to become familiar with science passages:

  • Read a variety of science passages. This will help you understand the types of science passages you might encounter on a test.
  • Pay attention to the structure of the passages. Science passages are typically organized in a way that helps you understand the main points.
  • Identify the key terms and concepts. Pay attention to the key terms and concepts being discussed as you read. This will help you understand the main points of the passage.
  • Look for the evidence that supports the claims. Science passages are typically based on evidence, such as data, experiments, or observations. Look for the evidence that supports the claims being made in the passage.
  • Think about how the passage relates to your knowledge of science. If you have prior knowledge of the topic discussed in the passage, think about how that knowledge can help you understand the passage.
  • Practice answering questions about science passages. This is a great way to test your understanding of science passages and to prepare for a test.

12. Write a strong ACT essay. 

Another step on how to study for the ACT ® is to write a strong ACT essay. The ACT essay is optional but a great way to show colleges your writing skills. Take some time to practice writing essays so you can write a strong one on test day.

Here are some tips on how to write a strong ACT essay:

  • Read the prompt carefully. The prompt will give you all the information you need to write your essay. Make sure you understand the prompt before you start writing.
  • Brainstorm your ideas. Once you understand the prompt, take some time to brainstorm your ideas. What are your thoughts on the topic? What evidence can you use to support your points?
  • Organize your thoughts logically. Your essay should be well-organized and easy to follow. Use clear transitions to connect your ideas and to help the reader follow your argument.
  • Write in a clear and concise style. Your essay should be easy to read and understand. Use simple language and avoid using jargon or complex sentence structures.

13. Get enough sleep the night before the test. 

This will help you be well-rested and focused on test day.

Here are some tips on how to get enough sleep the night before the ACT:

  • Go to bed early. Aim to get 8-10 hours of sleep the night before the test. This will give your body time to rest and repair itself, so you’ll feel refreshed and alert on test day.
  • Create a relaxing bedtime routine. This could include taking a warm bath, reading a book, or listening to calming music. Avoid watching TV or using electronic devices the hour before bed, as the blue light emitted from these devices can interfere with sleep.
  • Make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and cool. These conditions are ideal for sleep. If you have trouble sleeping, try using earplugs or an eye mask to block out light and noise.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed. These substances can interfere with sleep.
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14. Arrive early for the test.

This will give you time to relax and collect your thoughts before the test begins.

Here are some tips on how to arrive early for the ACT:

  • Know where the test is being held. Check the ACT website or your registration materials to find the location of the test center.
  • Allow plenty of time to get there. Traffic, parking, and finding the test center can all take time, so give yourself plenty of time to get there.
  • Plan your route. If you’re not familiar with the test center, plan your route ahead of time. This will help you avoid getting lost or running late.
  • Pack your materials the night before. This will save you time in the morning and help you avoid forgetting anything important.

15. Stay calm and focused during the test.

Feeling anxious on test day is normal, but staying calm and focused is important to perform your best.

Here are some tips on how to stay calm and focused during the ACT:

  • Take deep breaths. This will help you relax and focus on the task at hand.
  • Focus on one question at a time. Don’t worry about the questions you haven’t answered yet. Just focus on the one you’re working on.
  • Skip difficult questions. If you encounter a question you’re having trouble with, skip it and return to it later.
  • Take breaks. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a short break to relax and clear your head.
  • Believe in yourself. You’ve prepared for this test, so you know what you’re doing. Just stay calm and focused, and you’ll do great.

Find out Hope College’s acceptance rate in this article- Hope College Acceptance Rate | Requirements, SAT/ACT Scores, GPA, & Admissions

Why is it Important to Prepare for the ACT?

There are many reasons why it is important to prepare for the ACT. Here are a few of the most important:

To improve your chances of getting into college. 

The ACT is a standardized test that many colleges use to assess a student’s academic readiness. A high ACT score can give you a significant advantage in the college admissions process. So learning how to study for the ACT® can help improve your chances of getting into college.

To learn about your strengths and weaknesses. 

Learning how to study for the ACT® can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses in English, math, reading, and science. This information can help you focus your studies on the areas you need the most improvement.

To get comfortable with the test format. 

The ACT is a timed test, so learning how to study for the ACT® and getting comfortable with the format and time pressure is important. Taking practice tests can help you become more familiar with the test and its format.

To reduce your test anxiety. 

The ACT can be stressful, but learning how to study for the ACT ® can reduce your anxiety. Knowing what to expect and feeling confident in your abilities can help you stay calm and focused on the test.

Find out Tuft’s acceptance rate- Tufts Acceptance Rate | Requirements, SAT/ACT Scores, GPA, & Admission 

Frequently Asked Questions

How much time should I spend studying for the ACT?

The amount of time you need to study for the ACT will vary depending on your current academic level and target score. However, most experts recommend studying at least 2-3 months before your test date.

What is the average ACT score?

The average ACT score in 2022 was 20.7. However, the average ACT score varies depending on the state. For example, the average ACT score in California is 22.2, while the average ACT score in Mississippi is 18.2.

What is a good ACT score?

A good ACT score depends on your individual goals. However, a score of 26 or higher is considered to be a very good score. This score will make you competitive for admission to selective colleges and universities.

What are the drawbacks of taking the ACT?

The ACT can be stressful, and it can be difficult to improve your score significantly quickly. 


The ACT is an important test, but it’s not impossible to do well on it. Following these tips can increase your chances of scoring high and getting into your dream college.

Good luck!



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