Studying for the ACT can sound overwhelming. You know you need to study Reading, Science, English, and Math, but there are so many concepts within each subject. Where do you even begin? You begin with an ACT study schedule! Creating an ACT study plan is your first step to effective ACT prep.
In order to study effectively for the ACT, you need an ACT study schedule. A schedule ensures you’ll study for every section of the test with time left over for practice tests and reviewing difficult concepts. It helps you stay on track with your goals and, if well-implemented, should lead to an increase in your ACT score!
What is the Ideal ACT Study Schedule?
Below are sample ACT study schedules based on how much time you have to prepare: one month, two months, three months, or four months. In our opinion, three months is the right amount of time to study for your first ACT. Three months gives you enough time to cover all the necessary material without totally frying your brain.
In our opinion, three months is the right amount of time to study for your first ACT. Three months gives you enough time to cover all the necessary material without totally frying your brain. It also accounts for the fact that no one sticks to their schedule despite their best efforts.
Planning to study for about three months also accounts for the fact that no one sticks to their schedule despite their best efforts. You are constantly competing with school work and you need to build in some time to adjust here and there. If you have three months to study, that builds in a little wiggle room to skip a few days here and there.
What if I Want to Take the ACT Twice?
There’s no need to think of the ACT as a one-shot deal. Many students take the ACT at least twice and studies have shown that around 57% of students’ scores increase the second time they take the test! We actually recommend that students take the ACT at least twice for this reason.
It’s best practice to take your second ACT on the next available test date so you stay fresh. ACT tests are usually about eight weeks apart, which is plenty of time to hone in on and fix mistakes you made on your first test.
Creating a Second ACT Study Schedule
Studying for your second ACT test is your chance to focus on the areas of the test that really trip you up.
You’ll usually get your scores from the first test back after two weeks. Take a break the week after the test (you’ve earned it!) and then use the week before you get your score report back to think about how the first ACT test went; Did you run out of time? Did you struggle with a particular section or certain kinds of questions? What will you do differently when you take the test again?
Once you get your score report, you can begin some focused studying for your second ACT test. Use the “Detailed Results” section of the report to figure out the kinds of questions you missed. Then, take the next six weeks before your test to study those specific content areas you struggled in on your first test.
Going the Extra Test Prep Mile? Order a Test Information Release!
If you’re really curious about what you missed on your test, for a fee you can order a test information release from the ACT, which includes a copy of the multiple-choice questions from the test, a list of your answers, and the answer key. This information can be helpful because it shows you exactly what questions you missed!
However, the ACT says it could take 3-5 weeks to get the test information after you submit your request, so if you decide to order your test information it should not be your main study strategy for your next test. Additionally, this service is only available for the December, April, and June test dates (full restrictions here).
10 Official ACT Practice Tests
Download the Free ACT Study Schedules!
The schedules below are based on our ACT course. Between the course, test tips on this blog, and the study schedules below, you’ll have everything you need to study for the ACT and get a great score.