How to Study for the ACT

With two upcoming ACT test dates, the national test, on April 18, and another mandatory test for all juniors on April 28, it would be useful to have some tips on how to start studying now. Taking a class can definitely help, but if it’s too late, or you have already taken one, it would be beneficial to have a refresher on study tips for the ACT.

1. Learn the nature of the test. To be more confident about taking the ACT, it is best to learn the format of the test. The test is divided into four parts, excluding the optional writing portion:  the English test, 75 questions in 45 minutes, the Math test, 60 questions in 60 minutes, and both the Reading and Science portions are 40 questions in 35 minutes.

Ivy BeckenholdtMath Formulas

2. Learn the rules. For the first two sections of the ACT, English and Math, a way to improve your score is to simply learn the grammar and punctuation rules along with the mathematical rules and formulas, because they are usually not provided for the test. Ways to learn about these rules are to research them online. Places to learn these rules are here and here.


Practice Timed TestsIvy Beckenholdt
3. Buy an ACT practice book.
An important step to prepare for the ACT is to actually acquire the study tool. You can buy certain books such as, McGraw-Hill’s ACT, 2014 Edition, for as low a price as $9.99. This book contains six practice tests along with detailed explanations to answers.



4. Spend an hour a day taking practice tests. For the last two sections of the ACT, Reading and Science, the best way to improve your score is to simply take the practice tests multiple times before you test. Make sure to take the practice test in a quiet room under timed conditions, as you would during the actual ACT.