How to Create ACT Study Plan - 1-6 Month Study Schedules

February 15, 2024
5 min read

Are you ready to conquer the ACT? The key to success lies in crafting a personalized ACT study plan that aligns with your goals, timeline, and learning style.

Picture this: you're sitting in the exam room, feeling confident and prepared as you tackle each section of the ACT. You've put in the work, followed a strategic study plan, and now you're ready to put your learning to the test.

But creating an effective study plan can feel overwhelming, especially with the pressures of school, extracurricular activities, and personal commitments. Where do you start? How do you balance your time? What strategies will yield the best results?

In this guide, we’ll help you break down the ACT into manageable pieces, focusing on your weaknesses, and steadily building your confidence. With each passing week, you'll see your scores improve, your strategies sharpen, and your stress levels decrease! Let’s get started!

Understanding the ACT

The ACT is a test that assesses your knowledge and skills in subjects typically taught in high school. It has four main multiple-choice sections: English, Reading, Mathematics, and Science. The entire test takes about two hours and 55 minutes to complete. Some colleges may also require an optional 40-minute writing test.

In essence, the ACT helps colleges evaluate your readiness for higher education by measuring your abilities in key subjects. Understanding the test's structure and content is essential for effective preparation and meeting college admission requirements.

Importance of a Well-Structured Study Plan for the ACT Test

Having a well-organized study plan for the ACT is vital for several reasons.

Firstly, it helps you manage your study time effectively, ensuring that you allocate sufficient hours to the subjects that need improvement without overwhelming yourself. For instance, if you have a four-month preparation period, your plan will outline how many hours to study each week and allow you to fit them into your schedule.

Secondly, these plans are adaptable. You can adjust your schedule to meet your specific study needs and accommodate other commitments. If you find you need more time to review a particular subject, you can rearrange your plan accordingly.

Lastly, a study plan helps you track your progress. It will indicate when it's time to take practice tests, starting with official ones, so you can gauge how well you're doing and pinpoint areas that require more attention.

In summary, a well-structured study plan for ACT prep is key, enabling you to balance your study time, adapt to your needs, and monitor your progress.

Take our pop quiz to see how prepared you are for the ACT.

Building Your ACT Study Plan

Building your ACT study plan is the key to success, and we're here to walk you through the process step-by-step. 

Clarify Your Objectives

Before you jump into ACT preparation, take a moment to define your goals. Are you looking to achieve a specific score that's required by your desired colleges or universities? Do you need to strengthen your skills in particular subjects? Knowing your objectives will provide a clear direction for your study plan. It’s all about keeping you on track.

Establish Your Timetable and Prioritize Tasks

Once you've set your objectives, it's time to create a study schedule. Look at your calendar and figure out how much time you have until your chosen ACT test date. Determine how many hours per week you can realistically devote to studying. 

Also, remember to be realistic and don't overcommit—balance is key. Prioritize your tasks based on your study skills and objectives. If you're stronger in English but weaker in math, allocate more study time to math.

Choose a Test Date and Venue

Picking the right test date is crucial. Consider your study timeline and make sure the test date aligns with it. Be mindful of any other commitments or events that might clash with your ACT day. Once you have a date, select a test venue that's convenient for you;  you don't want transportation or logistical issues causing stress on test day.

Collect Your Study Resources and Grasp Your Learning Style

Gather all the study materials you'll need. This might include ACT prep books, online resources, practice tests, or even a tutor if you choose. Understanding your learning style is also essential. Are you someone who absorbs information better through reading, listening, or hands-on practice? Knowing this helps you tailor your study methods to maximize your effectiveness.

Commence Your Study Sessions and Align with Your Schedule

With your plan in place and resources at hand, it's time to start studying. Stick to your schedule as closely as possible, but also be open to adjustments. If you find that certain study techniques or specific times of the day work better for you, don't hesitate to adapt your plan. Flexibility is key to staying motivated and making consistent progress.

Overall, building your study plan is all about setting clear objectives, managing your time wisely, selecting the right test date and venue, collecting the necessary resources, and aligning your study sessions with your schedule. 

With dedication and a well-structured plan, you'll be well-prepared for success on the ACT test. Remember, it's a journey, and each step you take brings you closer to your goals.

ACT Study Plan 1: 1-Month Program With High-Intensity

Use our free ACT Study Schedule Tool below to download 1, 3, & 6 month study schedules for the ACT exam!

For individuals with limited time for ACT preparation, a one-month high-intensity program can be a viable option. This plan aims to maximize your efforts efficiently within a tight timeframe.

Week 1: Study the Structure

In the first week, it's essential to understand the fundamental structure of the ACT. This includes comprehending the test format, the number of sections, and the timing constraints. On the first two days, dedicate time to grasp the overall structure of the test. 

Days three and four should be focused on delving into the English section, where you'll learn essential grammar rules and get familiar with the various question types. During the remaining days of the first week, shift your attention to the Reading section, concentrating on comprehension strategies and time management techniques.

Week 2: Grasp Key Content

The second week is all about diving deep into the core content areas of the ACT. Start by concentrating on Mathematics during days eight to 10, covering vital concepts and formulas. Then, on days 11 to 14, shift your focus to the Science section, emphasizing data interpretation and scientific reasoning skills.

Week 3: Develop Strategies & Monitor Your Progress

As you enter the third week, it's time to hone your test-taking strategies. Spend days 15 to 18 learning and practicing effective strategies for the English, Reading, and Math sections. On days 19 to 21, take a practice ACT test to assess your baseline performance and identify areas for improvement. 

After completing the test, invest time in analyzing your results and creating a personalized strategy for enhancement. The days leading up to the end of the third week should be dedicated to continuous practice, focusing on timed sections to refine your skills further.

Week 4: Review & Engage in Practice

In the final week, allocate time to review challenging concepts and revisit your overall strategy. Consider any feedback from your practice test analysis and make necessary adjustments. On the last day of your one-month program, take a full-length practice ACT test to gauge your progress and assess your readiness for the real exam.

This one-month high-intensity program is designed to make the most of limited time. It demands dedication and focused effort, with a systematic approach to cover the essentials, develop effective strategies, and continually monitor your progress.

ACT Study Plan 2: 3-Month Program with Moderate Intensity

For those who have a bit more time to prepare, a three-month program with moderate intensity provides a balanced approach, allowing for comprehensive preparation without excessive stress.

Month 1: Fundamentals of English & Reading

Welcome to the first month of your ACT preparation journey, where we'll start by laying the groundwork in English and Reading, building the basics you need for success.

Week 1: Know the ACT Format

Establishing a solid foundation is key in the first week. Begin by understanding the ACT format, including the number of sections and time constraints. Days one and two should be dedicated to getting acquainted with the test structure. 

In the following days, shift your focus to the English section, where you'll delve into common grammar and punctuation rules. By the end of week one, you should have a clear grasp of the test's format and the basics of the English section.

Week 2: Concentrate on English

During the second week, concentrate on the English section's content. Spend days eight to 10 delving into grammar, sentence structure, and punctuation. The subsequent days, from 11 to 14, should involve practicing English section questions and reviewing your performance to identify areas that require improvement.

Week 3: Delve into Reading

As you enter the third week, focus your attention on the Reading section. Concentrate on reading comprehension strategies during days 15 to 17. Days 18 to 21 should be dedicated to practicing speed-reading techniques and tackling reading passages effectively.

Week 4: Familiarize Yourself with Reading & English Strategies

In the final week of month one, familiarize yourself with effective strategies for the Reading and English sections. Spend days 22 to 24 learning these strategies, which will be invaluable during the actual test. On days 25 to 28, take a practice test that combines English and Reading to assess your progress and refine your skills.

Month 2: Foundational Math & Science

Now that we're stepping into month two of your ACT preparation, it's time to lay down a solid foundation in Math and Science.

Week 5: Transition to Math

In the second month, shift your focus to the Math section. Begin the transition during days 29 to 31 by understanding the section's content and format, setting the stage for in-depth exploration.

Week 6: Expand Your Math Knowledge

During the sixth week, deepen your understanding of Math concepts, formulas, and problem-solving strategies. Days 35 to 38 should be dedicated to practicing Math questions to reinforce your learning.

Week 7: Shift to Science

Week 7 is the time to transition to the Science section. Focus on data interpretation and research summary during days 39 to 41. The subsequent days, from 42 to 45, should involve practicing Science section questions and reviewing your performance.

Week 8: Master Math & Science Strategies

As you approach the end of the second month, concentrate on mastering strategies for both the Math and Science sections. Spend days 46 to 48 developing effective strategies that you can apply during the test. The following days, from 49 to 52, should be dedicated to taking a practice test that combines Math and Science to gauge your progress and refine your strategies.

Month 3: Evaluation and Review

As we move into month three of your ACT preparation journey, it's time for evaluation and review.

Week 9: Assess Your Progress

In the third month, begin by assessing your overall progress and readiness for the ACT. Spend days 53 to 55 evaluating your performance and identifying areas that need improvement. Days 56 to 59 should be dedicated to setting specific goals for your final month of preparation.

Week 10: Practice Writing & Strengthen Weak Areas

During the tenth week, dedicate time to improving your writing skills, especially if your chosen colleges require the optional writing test. Days 60 to 63 should focus on writing practice. Additionally, use this time to address and strengthen any weaker sections or skills based on your assessment.

Week 11: Reassess Your Progress

As you near the end of your three-month program, take a full-length practice ACT test during days 68 to 70 to measure your improvement and overall readiness. Spend days 71 to 74 analyzing your results, adjusting your strategy, and fine-tuning your skills as needed.

Week 12: Review as Necessary

In the final week, allocate time to review any challenging areas or concepts that may require additional attention. Days 79 to 90 should be devoted to continuing practice with timed sections and full-length tests to maintain and further enhance your performance.

This three-month program balances in-depth content exploration, strategy development, and continuous practice. It allows for a comprehensive and structured approach to ACT preparation, ensuring that you're well-prepared for the test.

Use our free ACT Study Schedule Tool to download 1, 3, & 6 month study schedules for the ACT exam fr

ACT Study Plan 3: 6-Month Program with Low-Intensity

For individuals with the luxury of time and a preference for a more relaxed pace, a six-month program with low intensity provides a gradual and comprehensive approach to ACT preparation.

Final Steps in Preparation

The six-month program allows for a more relaxed and comprehensive approach to ACT preparation. This lower intensity is ideal for individuals who have ample time to commit to a more extended preparation period and prefer a steady and less stressful study routine.

In the first two months, you'll establish a strong foundation by understanding the ACT format and content. You'll delve into the English and Reading sections in the first month, focusing on grammar rules, punctuation, reading comprehension, and speed-reading techniques. During the second month, you'll transition to the Math and Science sections, gradually building your knowledge and problem-solving skills.

Months three and four will involve a deeper exploration of Math and Science concepts and strategies. You'll dedicate more time to practice and hone your skills in these sections.

Month five is a crucial evaluation period. You'll assess your overall progress, strengths, and areas that need improvement. This assessment will guide your final month of preparation.

In the last month, you'll concentrate on perfecting your writing skills if your chosen colleges require the optional writing test. Additionally, you'll continue to address and strengthen any weaker areas identified during your evaluation. This final phase will also involve regular practice with timed sections and full-length tests to maintain and further enhance your performance.

This six-month program allows for gradual, in-depth learning and ample time to build confidence and mastery. The lower intensity is ideal for those who prefer a more relaxed study pace and have the time to commit to a more extended preparation period.

To sum it up, the choice of a study plan for the ACT depends on various factors, including your available time, your preferred study intensity, and your specific goals. 

Whether you opt for a high-intensity one-month plan, a moderate three-month plan, or a more relaxed six-month plan, the key to success lies in consistent effort, effective strategies, and continuous practice. Tailor your study plan to your unique needs and circumstances to maximize your readiness for the ACT test.

Use our free ACT Study Schedule Tool below to download 1, 3, & 6-month study schedules for the ACT exam!


Still have questions about putting together a solid ACT study plan? Let's take a look at our FAQ section.

1. How Do I Plan to Study for the ACT?

To plan your ACT study effectively, start by assessing your strengths and weaknesses in the tested subjects. Choose a suitable study plan, gather study materials, set clear goals, and establish a study schedule. Consistency is crucial, so stick to your plan, track your progress, and make adjustments as needed. Include regular practice tests to evaluate your readiness.

2. How Many Hours a Day Should I Study for the ACT?

The number of daily study hours for the ACT varies based on your goals, timeline, and study intensity. For shorter, intense programs, like a one-month plan, several hours a day may be required. 

In contrast, a more extended three-month or six-month plan typically involves one to two hours of daily study. Find a balance that suits your schedule while ensuring focused and productive study sessions.

3. Is 2 Weeks Enough to Study for the ACT?

While two weeks can be sufficient for ACT preparation, it's a short timeframe and requires intense dedication. It's best suited for individuals familiar with the test content, looking for a quick review, and refining their strategies. 

Success in a two-week plan depends on your prior knowledge, commitment, and realistic expectations. Focus on areas needing improvement for effective use of time.

4. Can You Study for the ACT in Three Months?

Yes, a three-month ACT study plan is a practical and well-rounded approach. It allows for a balanced study program where you can explore content, develop strategies, and take practice tests at a moderate pace. 

With three months of preparation, you can address your strengths and weaknesses, adjust your plan, and build confidence for test day. It's a recommended timeline for most students aiming to achieve their target ACT scores.

Final Thoughts

Acing the ACT becomes attainable when you have the right plan, support, and resources in place. Crafting a well-organized study plan ensures that you cover all the essential material and develop effective strategies. 

Plus, having access to study materials, practice tests, and guidance from tutors or educators can give you that extra edge. Remember, it's all about tailoring your approach to fit your specific needs and circumstances. In the end, this will boost your confidence to face the ACT and achieve the scores you aim for.

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