StudyACTs - a plan to get you going, and help you prepare

Study ACTs-get ready for the test on your own.

The ACT is a straightforward test, if you are motivated and self disciplined, you can study and prepare on your own.

Even if you are these things, it is important to continually check your progress by taking ACT practice tests.

If you find yourself not improving, not studying, or otherwise unmotivated, this is not the plan for you. See ACT Study Options.


This page will give you links to material you will need to purchase, and make suggestions about optional material that may be of help and interest to you.

You will need to purchase enough material to be able to take six-seven practice tests (one each week-end).

(Feel free to modify, but keep your target date in mind)


  • Download Free Sample ACT Exam

  • FREE Sample ACT Questions

  • Order an Official ACT Test Guide with three tests

  • If possible, start your StudyACTs prep about seven weeks from the test.

    I suggest taking the tests on Saturdays. ('Cause that's when you take the test)

    The Exam is written by ACT, which publishes books and materials to help you prepare.

    If you stick with the StudyACTs plan, and practice taking those tests, and doing those questions, you will be ready. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is for you to keep to the StudyACTs plan, and to keep taking those practice tests, and getting used to the questions.

    To adequately prepare you will need books with more than three tests. Suggestions:

    "Cartoon Vocabulary" Several Editions, Fast Learning, funny.

    • www.

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    • The ACT test, while requiring some knowledge of strategy and test taking skill, is, in our opinion, a knowledge based test, a format somewhat similar to the SAT IIs.

    • Familiarize yourself with any test prep books you purchased, so you know what each has to offer and how to use them

    • Use the material from any books you purchased, with this study guide.

    • Score your tests each week using the directions given in the section immediately following each Practice Test. This will help you identify your strengths and weaknesses so you know where you need to focus your attention.

    • Except for each Saturday, when you will be taking a test,spend 30 - 45 minutes per day on the ACT material. I can hear you moaning. The time you spend will, in many cases, determine your grades.

    • It is counterproductive to spend long hours at one time studying for the test.Be focused and organized in your approach to the material, and remember, we learn best in short bursts.

    • Be ruthless with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses, and work on improvement.

    • Before taking the test, memorize all directions, including the material on the top of each test.

    • Bubble several answers in a section at one time,keeping track of the numbers you are bubbling, and your time limits

    • Study Essay Tips. Remember that the ACT essay questions are different in nature from the SAT questions. They are, in my opinion, easier, and not as indicative of college-English-class essay requirements. The essay portion is optional - sign up to take the essay portion of the test.

    • Analyze and understand the tips and strategies for answering ACT questions.

    • Consider bubbling in several answers at once, rather than one at a time. Watch your time so you don't get caught with a page of questions for which you have not filled in the answers.

    • Incorporate your extra material into this program to augment your learning process. (See suggestions above)


      StudyACTs, Week One: The First Saturday (morning):

      • Take Test #1 from the Official SAT Study Guide for ACT

      • Take the entire test, with two breaks. Time yourself, but don't worry about time limits.

      • Remember that bubbling the answers in the little ovals is not meant to be an artistic challenge - Stay with in the lines, but don't try for perfection.

      • Have a clock or a watch where you can see it.

    • Week One: Sunday

      • Score your test using the section immediately following Practice Test One. This will identify your strengths and weaknesses so you know where you need to focus your attention.

      • Make a chart listing the four sections of the test,

        English, Math, and reading, and science, and your scores for each test..

      • Begin to memorize the directions on the first sheet of each test (A time saver)

      Week One: Monday

      • Using the test answers in the Official Guide, review the section in which you achieved your lowest score. For example, let's start with the math sections.

      • Redo the questions, comparing your work to the answers to see which you can correctly solve and which ones you do not understand.

      Week One: Tuesday

      • Do practice questions for the math test sections in one of your workbooks. If your answers are wrong, follow carefully the explanations until you understand

      Week One: Wednesday

      • Review second lowest scoring section of the test, for example, the Reading sections, and repeat Monday activity with those sections.

      Week One: Thursday

      • Do practice questions for the Reading test sections in one of your workbooks. If your answers are wrong, follow carefully the explanations until you understand.

      Week One: Friday

      • Review highest scoring section of the test, for example, the English section, and repeat Monday's activity with those sections.

      StudyACTs, Week Two: Saturday

      • Take ACT Practice Test 2. Time yourself, and stop each section when time is up.

      • Take two breaks, with bottled water and snacks.

      • BEFORE YOU START TEST #2, Be sure you have your calculator.

      • This time, time yourself carefully, make a note of your start time. When your time is up, mark that place, and then continue on to finish each test. When you finish, mark the time.

      • You will do this with each individual test section, including the essay.

      Week Two: Sunday

      • First, score each section's part that you finished in the amount of time noted at the beginning of each section
      • Calculate your score,

      • After you have completed scoring the portions you completed within the time constraints of the test, then score those portions of the test you completed after your time was up for each section.

      Week Two: Monday

      • Analyze the results of your weekend's testing

      • Study the scores of the parts you finished within the time constraints to see how you performed relative to the first week, and compare the three test subject results to last week's exam.

      • Begin the process of analyzing your performance on each of the three test subjects.

      Week Two: Tuesday

      • Again, start with the section in which you received your lowest scores, and begin to work through those questions.

      • Correct each wrong answer, being sure you understand why you missed it, and how to arrive at the correct answer.

      • Do remedial or practice work in extra books you have purchased.

      Week two: Wednesday

      • Do practice questions and exercises from your workbooks, including the Official Guide to the ACTSs.

      Week Two: Thursday

      • Repeat yesterday's activities, but with your second lowest scores.

      • Work on the section in which you received your second lowest scores, and begin to work through those questions.

      • Correct each wrong answer, being sure you understand why you missed it, and how to arrive at the correct answer.

      Week Two: Friday

      • Do exercises for the work you did on Thursday. Concentrate on improving performance.

      • NOTE: You will be taking a test on the week-end, but don't worry that you did not work on the tests on which you made your highest scores

      • For right now, the important thing is to keep working on the lowest scores

      • On Monday, you will start out working on the section on which you received your highest score in test #3.

      StudyACTs, Week Three: Saturday

      • You may be wondering why you keep taking these wretched tests!

      • Study after study shows that the best way to do well on these tests is to practice.

      • This means taking tests.

      Week Three: Sunday

      • Write a practice essay following the essay guide. Try to write the five- paragraph essay in 30 minutes, including an introduction, three examples with reflections, and a conclusion tying the whole thing together.

      • If it takes longer, mark your place at 30 minutes and continue on.

      • If you can't make the time frame, start at about a 40-minute time, and then as you practice, keep shaving off minutes, while maintaining the quality of the essay you wrote in your 40 minute essay

      Week Three: Monday

      • Score your test, keeping track of the grade for each of the four parts.

      Week Three: Tuesday

      • Work on the tests on which you received your BEST score

      • Correct the questions you missed, and be sure you understand the reasoning behind the answers.

      Week Three: Wednesday

      • Read Essay Tips (LINK)

      • Write the essay from a practice test or choose a topic from one of your workbooks

      • Do not "select" the topic by what appeals to you. Put your finger on one and go with it

      • Write down your times,Remember, on the test, you have to get this done in 30 minutes.

      Week Three: Thursday

      • Go over your essay, correct it, check spelling, punctuation, and content. If you exceeded the time limit, note what you could have done to finish within 30 minutes.

      Week Three: Friday

      • You will be taking Practice Test 4 tomorrow.

      • Go over your lowest scoring sections from Test #3 today, in preparation for tomorrow's test

      • Do workbook exercises

      StudyACTs, Week Four: Saturday

      • By now you are tired of the grind. Hopefully, though, you are seeing some improvement, If not, analyze why you are not improving, and take steps to work more, or change what you are doing.

      • Remember: Practice is what raises your score. The more you do these questions, the better off you will be, come test day.

      • Take Practice Test 4.

      • Time yourself exactly for each section. For everything but the essay, stop at the end of each section when your time is up; you can finish the sections later in the week.

      • When writing the essay, if your time last week was more than 30 minutes, aim at shaving a few minutes off that time. You will continue to do this each week until the test.

      Week Four: Sunday

      • Don't do any ACT studying today. You are over half-way to the test, take a break.

        (A very little break)

      Week Four: Monday-Friday

      • Back to work.

      • Score test #4, and look carefully at each section.

      • This week, concentrate most of your time on the section in which your scores are the lowest. For instance math. Review math concepts that you don't know or can't remember, identify types of problems that are difficult for you, and review the basic concepts for:

      • Math

        • English

        • Reading

        • Study from workbooks, choosing exercises that target your weaknesses or that review particular topics.

      • Week Five: Saturday

        • Take Practice Test #5

        • If necessary, trim your time on the essay. Remember what is required.

          Take this ACT Practice Test all in one sitting, and strictly timed.

        Week Five: Sunday

        • Score your test
        • Evaluate your essay with the guidelines on the essay page.

        • Total your scores.

        Week Five: Monday to Wednesday

        • Begin an organized plan based on the test you took on the weekend

        • Divide the test into the four sections, math, reading, English and science

        • Correct your errors, section by section over the next three days.

        • As you work through the tests, be sure you understand how to do the problems you missed in math, how to find the correct answer in the science, Reading and English sections.

        • In the Reading portions of the test, write down dictionary meanings of any words you did not recognize in the answer choices

        • Check to be sure you paid attention to clues in the sentences

        • Be sure you understand the strategies for these particular kinds of questions.

        Week Five: Thursday

        • Choose the subject in which you have the lowest scores. Do remedial work from that subject from your workbooks

        • Score your tests

        Week Five: Friday

        • Take the section from your last test in which you had your second lowest scores and work on finding the correct answers to those questions or problems

        • Combine your scores and figure out your test score for that section, using the scoring information in your test book

        StudyACTs, Week Six: Saturday


        • Take Test #6

        Sunday: Week Six: Sunday

        • Score test #6

        • Figure out your scores for each section.

        • Review each section of the test, correcting your errors, and being sure you understand the reasoning behind the correct answer, and how you got the wrong answer

        Week Six: Monday to Wednesday

        • Consider Princeton Review Last Minute Guide to the ACTS for a fast review

        • Take (yes) another test

        • Do one reading exercise each day, score it and study your mistakes and the correct answers.

        • Do one English section passage each day, score and analyze

        • Do one math test each day

        Week Six: Thursday

        • Review any areas of weakness. If using Princeton Last Minute Guide, work on Section two, solving problems

        Week Six: Friday

        • Tomorrow is the big day. End of StudyACTs Project.

        Week Seven: TEST DAY


        • Avoid caffeine after 4 P.M.

        • Study only if you need to review any concepts about which you are still concerned.

        • Prepare your supplies to take with you.

        • Go to bed at a reasonable time and get a good night sleep.

        • Get your supplies together the night before:

        Your "THINGS-TO-BRING" list for ACT test day

      • ACT Ticket
      • Picture ID
      • Calculator - install new batteries earlier in the week
      • Watch- keep track of the time yourself
      • Sweater or jacket-easier to take off layers than to be unprepared in a cold room
      • Tissues
      • Water or other beverages
      • Snacks for breaks
      • Headache medicine if inclined

        Morning of the Test

        • Get up (This is huge).

        • Eat breakfast. Every study shows...I know you have heard it a million times, but it's true. Your brain will function better, particularly at math.

        • Make time to do a few test questions BEFORE the test. Either do this at home before you leave for the test location, or arrive early at the test site and do some problems then. This is important: It will get your brain warmed up before you start.

        • Plan to be at the site at least twenty minutes early, and plan for heavy traffic areas.

      • Week Seven: AT THE TEST

        • Don't discuss the test with anyone during the breaks. Some people will cheat by asking questions during the breaks and then changing their original answers when they return to their desks.

        • Keep track of the time on your own

        • Remember you have a right to have the full amount of time written at the top of the test, to complete each exam.

        • Directions for the tests, given by the proctor, are not given during the assigned time for the test.

        • You have a right to breaks.

        • You have a right to have reasonable silence in the room during the test

        • The proctor should not engage in an undue amount of conversation during the test periods, and should not be talking on a cell phone.

        • If conditions for the test are difficult or something makes it impossible for you to complete the test, like, say, projectile vomiting or an obnoxious person bothering you, call immediately after leaving the test area to "cancel" your test after you leave.

        That's it, you're outta there!

        Your StudyACTs plan paid off if you stuck to it and practiced. Now just sit back and wait.

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