To prepare for the ACT effectively, you should know how to study for the ACT. There is a right way to study and a wrong way to study. Studying for the ACT the right way can significantly boost your ACT score, and studying for the ACT the wrong way can actually harm your score.

How to study for the ACT the wrong way

There are several things you can do to study for the ACT the wrong way.

One wrong way to study for the ACT is to only study for the content of the ACT. The ACT is a timed test, so it is equally important to practice getting used to the timing of the ACT. It is possible to know everything the ACT tests and still get a bad score simply because you ran out of time and could not answer all of the questions.

Another wrong way to study for the ACT is to simply take lots of ACT practice tests. While practice tests can be helpful, taking them in the wrong way can reinforce bad habits or be a discouraging experience that hurts your confidence approaching the ACT.

How to study for the ACT the right way

Studying for the ACT the right way involves preparing for both the content and strategy of the ACT, as well as taking ACT practice tests the right way.

One thing you must study to prepare for the ACT is the content that the ACT English and Math tests covers.

How to Study for the ACT English Content

The ACT English test covers many grammar and writing concepts. There are two primary ways to learn these concepts in preparation for the ACT English test:

  1. Study the specific grammar and writing concepts that will show up on the English test. A list of these concepts can be found on the ACT Study Guide – English: What English concepts do I need to study for the ACT? page.
  2. Read a lot of articles and books that use proper English grammar. The better you are at reading, the more easily you will be able to identify proper grammar and the errors that will show up on the ACT English test.

How to Study for the ACT Math Content

The ACT Math test covers math concepts from pre-algebra, elementary algebra, intermediate algebra, plane geometry, coordinate geometry, and trigonometry. Again, here are two primary ways you can learn these math concepts to prepare for the ACT Math test:
how to study for the ACT

  1. Learn these math concepts from math classes in high school. The ACT is designed so that a student who has completed Algebra 2 can answer every question on the test.
  2. Study the specific math concepts from the list of concepts that the ACT provides. You can find a list of these ACT math concepts on the ACT Study Guide – Math: What Math concepts do I need to study for the ACT? page.

How to Study for the ACT Reading and Science Tests

Studying for the ACT Reading and Science tests involves gaining and understanding of how these tests are designed, rather than studying for specific concepts.

To learn more about studying for the different sections of the ACT, visit the ACT Study Guide: Content and Concepts to Know for the ACT page.

How to Study for the ACT: ACT Test Taking Strategies


Because the ACT is a timed test, studying ACT test taking strategies is just as important as studying the content of the ACT. If you do not take the test in the right way, your score will be far lower than if you simply took the test strategically. The strategy for each specific section of the ACT is slightly different, and there are a variety of other test-taking strategies to consider when taking the ACT.

For more information about ACT strategies, visit the ACT Strategies: Tricks to Master the ACT page.

How to Study for the ACT: Taking ACT Practice Tests

As with many other things, with the ACT, practice makes perfect. However, studying for the ACT requires more than simply taking ACT practice tests. You must also know which ACT practice tests to take and how to take them. Taking inaccurate ACT practice tests can lead to inaccurate predications of how well you will actually do on the ACT, and taking ACT practice tests in the wrong way may simply reinforce bad habits.

For more information about the best ACT practice tests and how to use them effectively, visit the ACT Practice Test Page: Links to ACT Practice Tests page.