Studying for the ACT


An example of what an ACT study book can look like

May is fast approaching and students are racing to prepare for the almost three hours long test called the American College Test or commonly known as ACT.

There are many ways to study, and what works best is up to you, but it is agreed overall that studying does help, and is important when working hard to get a good score on the ACT. 

ACT’s website offers a couple of options concerning studying for the test. They have online resources that students can take or you can buy an ACT prep book on Amazon which normally go for about $40. 

“Typically we will encourage students to purchase an ACT prep book that you can either get at the library or purchase online or in bookstores,” counselor Taylor Bryant said. “My school offered an ACT prep class, so I took that class, and I also took a class called etymology, which is the study of words. It helped because the teacher in the class tried to provide us with questions related to the English and Reading portion of the test,” 

On top of that, Bryant also had a prep book that she used, and that added onto the help Bryant received when preparing for the ACT.

“With the math portion for sure, that was the most beneficial doing a practice test for,” Bryant said. “It was all similar questions.”

Bryant goes on to say that the studying helped a lot with improving her own scores, from doing badly the first time around going in cold to doing extremely better the second time around with practice. 

While the school does not provide an ACT prep class themselves, there are still many things students can do to help prepare for the test and some parents can sign up to get their kids a tutor specifically for the ACT. 

An example of this is junior Luke Senften, who had a tutor for about five weeks for the ACT in December.

“I would do a practice test, and then we would go over the practice test and she would tell me what I did wrong, different strategies that you could use to study for the test, and a lot of other material that she gave me,” Senften said. 

Senften’s mom found out about the tutor through a friend at work who had the same tutor. 

But having the tutor wasn’t the only thing that was helping Senften, it was also a lot of studying on his own. 

“You don’t necessarily need it (a tutor) in my opinion.” Senften said. “I think what helps most is taking the test over and over again and getting more comfortable with the content.” 

For some kids, studying in a group is more their speed, relying on resources that are easily accessible for students and going through it together, combining their knowledge to learn more. 

Junior Abbey McClung is an example of a student taking charge and creating an ACT study group for her and her friends. 

“I felt like everyone needed a chance to study together, cause everyone wants to get a good score on the ACT so I think everyone has the same end result that they want to see,” McClung said. 

McClung has many methods of studying that she plans on using, such as the ACT study books, and practicing with the problems in the book, making it feel like the people practicing them are actually in the ACT, and even making a Kahoot in hopes of making the studying process a little more fun for the group. 

Even teachers have their own prep that they give to students. English teacher Kristen Misbrener tells her students about the practice tests available on the ACT’s website ( and an ACT prep book that she has used in the past as well. 

“The ACT is one of the best standardized tests that students encounter because it assesses a wide variety of academic skills,” Misbrener said. “I find that the challenge of the test is appropriate and is a good indicator of college readiness.”

Misbrener also agrees with the practice of just taking the test over and over again, saying that taking the test multiple times can help with getting a better score in order to earn scholarships.

That’s right, scholarships. Some colleges are making it so that it is not necessary for students wanting to apply to the college to have a certain score, and are even trying to phase out the ACT for acceptance. 

“We still encourage students to take it because the ACT is not only for colleges but for scholarships as well,” Bryant said. 

Even though the ACT will not be required, the thought of a scholarship is good motivation for students to work towards getting a good score on the test. 

“Studying for a good ACT score can allow students to gain access to scholarships that can really help offset the cost of post-secondary education,” Misbrener said. “This was certainly the case for me.”

I think what helps most is taking the test over and over again and getting more comfortable with the content

— Luke Senften