February ACT Study Timeline From an Orange County Test Prep Tutor

The date to sign up for the December ACT has already passed, however, students can still sign up for the February ACT (READ: “ACT Tips From a Private Irvine Tutor“). Hopefully, most students have already started preparing for the February ACT, but for those who haven’t, here is a study timeline to help stay on track.

One – Start with one section at a time

Don’t attempt to do the entire ACT at one time if you are just starting your studies. Break it up into each section.  Set aside five hours on five different days and designate the first day to an intro lesson, then the essay, the English section, the math section, & the science section (READ: “Ask a Nerd! Are the SAT and ACT Similar?“).

Two – Give yourself an introduction

Spend an hour skimming through your ACT prep book and familiarize yourself with a few important things such as, how The ACT is graded, how to sign up for the ACT, and the basics of test prep. Do a few practice problems in each section and read through the basic ideas of process of elimination in your test prep book.

Three – Tackle the essay

Use the practice problems in your test prep book and write at least one essay. Show this essay to your tutor or to a trusted teacher or friend and ask them to give you honest and upfront feedback. Most students need to write several practice essays prior to taking the actual exam so get started now and plan to write a minimum of three to five practice essays between now and February (READ: “Last Minute SAT Study Guide“).

Four – Tackle the English section

Take a practice English section after your intro and tally up what your potential score would be. Write down the score and save it for later.

Five – Move on to the math section

Once the English practice test is done, go ahead and complete the math section. Review all of the basic mathematical concepts in the test prep book. The majority of students will already know these concepts and may have learned them several years ago but have long since forgotten them.

Six – Try out the science section

Go ahead and give the science section a try. In reality, this section will mostly be learning how to read charts and graphs but, this is a really important skill to have for the ACT. Once finished with all of the sections calculate a composite score using the directions in the back of the test prep book.

Seven – Call for help if needed

Many students call a tutor a few weeks prior to taking the real exam. It’s much more helpful to know ahead of time which sections a student needs help on so it is recommended that students have taken at least one full practice exam, even if they are taking it over multiple days, several weeks in advance of the actual test. Once a student knows what their weaker areas are, they can focus on them specifically and speak with a tutor one-on-one to have a plan of action toward success.

Students who are taking the ACT in February – don’t wait too late to sign up for your Irvine ACT tutor – for the first time should plan to start their prep no later than mid December. Most students have at least a week off at the end of December; it is important to make arrangements ahead of time so that the intense tutoring and self-study can start in January.

February is not the most popular time to take the ACT but it’s actually one of the better times to get it over with. Students are relaxed from the Thanksgiving and winter holidays and are usually recharged and able to take an exam without too much stress. Additionally, taking the ACT in February will not interfere with the intense AP study that will follow in April and May.

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