3 years ago
Admissions Advice

What should I study for the ACT?

Hey, my name is Kenton and I am a junior in high school. I started studying for the ACT but I don't know what exactly to study for. I know that there are four sections. Math, Science, Reading, and Language but don't know what I should study for in particular. Like do the subjects cover all that we learned or is it just a certain part of it? If you could answer me I would greatly appreciate it. Thank You :)

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2 answers

Accepted Answer
3 years ago

Hi! I would suggest taking a diagnostic test to measure your skills to see where you're at as well as determining what your target score is. From there, you can see which sections you're solid on and which you need to improve on. For example, if you take a diagnostic test and get a 34 in English, 27 in Math, 30 in Reading, and 25 in Science (29 overall). From there you can determine that you need to improve on your math and science, if you want to get your score up to a 31. Reading you can visit if you just want a quick 5 minute study session, and English you're solid on. PrepScholar Blog is a great way to work on these skills that you want to improve. Just google '[Skill you want to work on] PrepScholar Blog' and it should show up. Another thing is to take practice tests often. That may seem tedious and boring, but I promise it's worth it! Hope this helps and lmk if you need me to clarify anything :)

3 years ago

Hello Kenton!

The first step you should take is to try a previous year's ACT to get a sense of where you are at currently. Here is a list of 75+ ACTs https://www.reddit.com/r/SATACTprep/comments/epmqan/77_official_act_practice_test_pdfs/. I suggest taking one that is relatively recent as the tests do change year to year. After you get a sense of where you are at, you can continue doing more practice questions such as those on https://www.act.org/content/act/en/products-and-services/the-act/test-preparation/math-practice-test-questions.html?page=0&chapter=0.

After you have some idea where your scores lie the next step is to work on your low scores! Here are my suggestions for each section:

English - Review punctuation (especially rare punctuation such as dashes or colons) and review commonly misspelled words such as its vs it's or whose vs who's vs whom. After you get these rules down cold take practice tests to improve your ability to spot incorrect sentence structure and your analysis skills. Make sure to review what you get wrong and figure out why you got them wrong. That applies for all of the sections.

Math - The test covers everything up until Calculus including Algebra 1 and 2, Trig, and geometry. Often, students study geometry early in high school and forget it by the test so it is crucial to review this section as it makes up a significant portion of most exams. In particular, know your triangle rules.

Reading - This section really just requires practice, and a lot of it. You do not need to know anything special, but should be able to think critically about whatever writing sample is provided.

Science - Oftentimes students think that they need to study specific subjects to do well on this section, but that is simply not true. It will certainly help if a question about biology comes up to know some biology, but this section is much more focused on analyzing graphs and charts. Oftentimes they will say what chart to look at in the question itself which is very helpful. Aside form knowing some basic terminology from Chem and Bio, make sure that you are comfortable looking for trends and analyzing data!

In general, the test is simply practice, practice, practice! Try to get at least four practice tests under your belt (and look at what you get wrong and why for each) before taking the actual exam.

Best of luck!

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Duke University
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Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

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