Last Updated: February 02, 2021
Preparing for ACT in a Month
Is the ACT
test approaching and is there just one month left to prepare? Through this article, candidates will be able to find guidance that can help them in figuring out the workability of a one-month plan, the steps to undertake before the actual preparation, and how, indeed, one can act smart to crack the ACT. Read ahead to find the best strategies and tips that can relieve anxiety and prepare candidates for ACT in over a month.
Can One Prepare for ACT in a Month?
When it is said that the ACT test can
be prepared for in a month, the statement banks on the required amount of effort that has to be put in by the candidate. ACT preparation is done by students through both offline tutoring and online ACT prep courses. But the test can also be prepared for through self-tutoring though this requires a large amount of self-discipline.
The subjects and syllabus for the test
have been derived from high school syllabi and hence if one has been a diligent student, all they will have to do as prep would be to brush up on information that they have already studied. The prep then focuses on 3 key aspects which are relearning key concepts, understanding the test pattern, and time management
Condensing an ideal plan of learning over the months, sometimes years, into a single month can depend on a lot of variables. The most important variable, apart from the time that can be invested, is the number of points they expect to increase from their baseline score. The higher the gap between the baseline score and goal score, the more time that will have to be invested in this one-month plan.
This may come across as studying endlessly for an entire month to reach the goal score. But that is not the case. Experts do not prefer continuous studying for over 5 hours a day which is still a lot yet feasible.
Tracking/Reviewing the Entire Syllabus
The four subjects included in the test are English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science in this very order. Understanding the syllabus also makes candidates consider what topics require detailed study and what other topics may be handled directly while attempting practice tests. The topics that are most often asked in the test have been provided here for easy access.
, the four main sections are rhetorical skills, sentence structure, punctuation and grammar
. The subsections under rhetorical skills would include transitions, word choice, add/delete questions, organization, main idea, author technique, redundancy, and relevance. In sentence structure, they are known to focus on parallel structure, faulty modifiers, and run-on sentences and fragments. Punctuation as the word suggests deals with all punctuations like commas, parenthesis, semicolon, and colon. Grammar essentially deals with subject-verb agreement, verb tenses, verb forms, pronoun agreement, relative pronouns, and idioms.
, their primary focus is on algebra, geometry and trigonometry
. Algebra has been divided into pre-algebra, elementary algebra, and intermediate algebra whereas geometry has been divided into both plane geometry and coordinate geometry. These concepts can be further divided into key topics that are often brought up in ACT tests. Pre-algebra includes fractions, ratios, proportions, statistics, probability, and sequences. Elementary algebra mostly deals with single variable equations and Intermediate algebra contains word problems, functions, and systems of equations. Plane geometry deals with lines, angles, circles, triangles, and polygons whereas coordinate geometry includes lines and slopes among other topics.
The section Reading
consists of external passages and ideas that generate critical thinking which does not possess a strict syllabus of its own. The passages may be from fields like literature, humanities, arts, space, etc., and can only be trained for by practicing general passages available in practice question papers.
, there are no concrete concepts that have to be mastered but the test includes contents from biology, chemistry, physics, and earth science which consists of topics like geology, meteorology, and astronomy
. Most of the questions in this section will be given in explicit detail. It is understood that only extremely basic concepts need to be learned thoroughly. The concepts that ought to be looked at in Biology are cell biology, DNA, RNA, ribosome, natural selection, photosynthesis, respiration, and genetics. Chemistry requires prior knowledge of basic molecule structure, pH scale, molar mass, phase changes, and freezing and boiling point of water. Physics requires knowledge of gravity, density formula, kinetic energy, and potential energy.
How to Prepare for ACT in a Month
Before preparing a study plan, there are a few steps that ought to be completed in order to conceptualize the plan further. Acting smart always means finding the perfect strategy to minimize effort and maximize output. To act smart here, one has to start by finding their baseline score and then move step by step until the study plan is all set to be put into action.
- Finding a baseline score-A baseline score is the ACT score one can obtain without essentially preparing for the test. Considering that the syllabus matches with the high school syllabus the test may range from easy to difficult.
There are official ACT practice tests that can be taken online but ensure that one takes the test in conditions similar to the original test. Time breaks accordingly and does not give oneself more time than is mandated. Recreating an atmosphere similar to that of the original test provides one with a nearly accurate baseline score.
At the completion of the test, the answer guide to the test will let the candidate calculate both their raw score and composite score. This composite score, out of 36 will be the baseline score.
- Finding the target score-The target score may also be called a goal score for easy understanding. This should be calculated by getting the average composite scores mandated by the colleges and universities of the candidate’s choice.
Looking for goal scores will be something like finding the 25th and 75th percentile scores of colleges/universities that will be available on their websites. Here, the 25th percentile score will be the lowest score required to receive admission and the 75th percentile will be the highest grade required.
Finding the average of these two scores will provide one with their target score. Aiming for the 75th percentile will be harder to achieve but aiming higher always gives one a chance for better scholarships and admissions in better university spaces.
- Assess the Practice Test-After finding both the baseline score and the target score, candidates will be able to find the number of points they will have to gain in order to achieve the target. Now choose a study plan that suits the daily schedule. Bear in mind that cramming materials that should ideally be learned over a period of years/months in a single month can be tiring.
Be realistic in setting the schedule. Opt for a day or two off in a week so that one does not get mentally exhausted right before the exam. Study for a minimum of 2 to 3.5 hours on a weekday and around 5 hours on a weekend if it can be managed.
If the baseline score has been really low and one needs to increase it by as many points as possible, start with spending the first-week learning concepts for 3 hours at least a day and work on only practice papers on the weekends. Practice papers are a great source to understand one’s drawbacks and in letting one diagnose their weak areas that can be worked on for a better score.
- Choosing the best prep books-Self-tutoring often equates to finding appropriate learning content that suits one’s needs. This may include finding old textbooks from where candidates can learn key concepts to purchasing guides tailor-made for the ACT test or purchasing Practice test papers both online and offline.
To find out about the best prep books from 2020, go to Best books for ACT
Tips for Preparing in a Month
Once the strategies are in place and the preparation is in progress, there are certain tips that can speed up the process of studying which might seem obvious but are often downplayed by examinees
- Knowledge about the Test Format Matters Knowing the structure of the test can help candidates prepare for the exam even as they are learning the content for the same. Candidates can create similar questions while learning key concepts and quiz themselves on them.
- Practice Tests to Track ProgressRepeatedly assessing oneself with practice questions. diagnosing mistakes and learning from them can prove to be the last-minute savior when learning different concepts subject by subject can seem time-consuming.
- Focus on Weak SpotsSpending more time on concepts that seem tough or cannot be grasped easily can strengthen these areas. This can be done by following strategic methods offered by prep books and practice guides along with official ACT question papers.