7 Tips for Improving Your ACT Score in One Month

ACT prep book and laptop - featured image

The ACT (American College Testing) is a standardized test used by colleges in the United States to evaluate high school students’ readiness for college-level work. It covers four main areas: English, mathematics, reading, and science, with an optional writing section. 

That’s a lot to learn, and keeping your score up can be a daunting task. 

Do you want to up your ACT score by a point next month? It’s not easy, but there are definitely some steps you can take. 

Even if you’re just looking to clear the ACT bar and stay under your parents’ disapproving glare (or to boost your score just enough to snag that elusive scholarship), these seven tips can help you get there – without morphing into a caffeine huffer. 

Setting the Scene

Many students take ample time to prepare for their tests, which is understandable. That said, one still mustn’t forget about other academic commitments. If you need to write an essay fast but are preoccupied, the top essay writing website got you covered. 

They offer timely and affordable help to students with any projects. They have experts in various academic fields who can help you write, edit, and proofread your paper. This is especially helpful during times when you might be juggling your ACT preparation alongside other important academic tasks. 

Ensuring that all your academic needs are met without sacrificing study time for the ACT can significantly ease your stress and allow you to focus on achieving the best score possible.

When it comes to ACT tests, it’s important to start from the position of knowledge. So, let’s review some important facts. The average ACT score in 2023 was 19.5, it’s the lowest it has been since 1990, which is quite concerning.

Here are more details on the average ACT Scores over the recent years:

Year# of Test TakersEnglishMathReadingScienceWritingComposite

Sources: 2017 Profile Report, 2018 Profile Report, 2020 Profile Report, 2021 Profile Report, 2022 Profile Report, 2023 Profile Report

Here’s a more visual representation of this data:

Unfortunately, we can see a marked decline in the average ACT score, so if you’re struggling, you can clearly see that you’re not alone. Now, let’s get cracking!

On The Road To Improving Your ACT Score Fast

1. Set a Realistic Goal

First, figure out which ledge you’ll leap from. Once you’ve done your initial practice tests, go back and look at your ACT scores or the results of one of the eight free ones that Kaplan offers. 

Figure out what your lowest subscore is and which subscore category it falls into. Now, decide what improvement goal you’ll set for yourself. You should strive to be out of your comfort zone. Pick a number that’s realistic but not something you’ll comfortably hit.

2. Break Down the Test

The ACT is not one colossal blob of academic agony but rather a four-headed beast consisting of English, Math, Reading, and Science (optional: Writing), each one deserving of special attention. 

You should know which kinds of questions are posed and how they’re scored, and then engineer a study schedule accordingly. To make your job easier, you can take an ACT prep course. This will definitely take much stress out of your preparation.

3. Embrace Practice Tests

After all, practice doesn’t make perfect – it makes permanent. The more practice ACTs you take after you’ve read all the sample questions and suggested answers, the more you’ll get a feel for the pace and pressure of the real exam. 

By timing yourself appropriately with each test, you’ll become accustomed to the time constraints for each section. 

Get in the habit of taking practice ACTs, and your brain will be trained to retrieve information as quickly and accurately as possible while under stress. You can find many examples of ACT tests online. 

You can also find examples of analytical writing and other writing types, which will help you do your assignments faster while you’re studying for your tests. Use the resources online to streamline your learning during this challenging time.

Pro-tip for practice: Pretend it’s test day, so the ‘game’ conditions should be clear of distractions and contain only official breaks. 

4. Focus on Weaknesses, but Don’t Ignore Strengths

It’s tempting to throw all your guns at areas in which you struggle, but remember, the ACT is a points game and a cumulative score. Boost your weaker domains, for sure, but take the time to polish your prospects too. 

By evenly spreading your abilities, you will increase your chances of picking up points all across the board.

5.  Create a Study Schedule and Stick to It

Be consistent. Draw up a calendar showing what you’ll study and when. If you have your plan of attack carefully worked out, a month is plenty of time to make substantial progress. 

  • Monday Blues: Tackle a challenging section to get it out of the way.
  • Midweek Motivation: Review and take a mini practice test.
  • Tech-Free Tuesdays: Unplug from all digital distractions and use this time for focused study sessions.
  • Feedback Fridays: End your week by seeking feedback on your practice tests from a tutor or a study group. Discussing your errors can provide new insights and prevent similar mistakes on the actual test.
  • Weekend Warrior: Take a full-length practice test and analyze your results.

6. Figure Out What Works For YOU

Thomas A. Edison once said: “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” This is exactly the approach you should take when prepping for your ACT test. If one prep strategy doesn’t work for you, try another!

7. Stay Healthy

Finally, take care of your body and brain. A tired brain is about as useful as a smartphone with a 2% battery left. Get some sleep, eat well – you know the drill. Take breaks – go for a walk, or do a quick yoga sequence: your mind will thank you.

Keep Calm and Test On

Remember, ACT improvement is a marathon. It is possible to improve dramatically with concentrated effort, a killer game plan, and sufficient dedication and perseverance. Best of luck to you! You got this!

Author: Charlie Martin

Charlie is an educator and a writer. He loves sharing student tips that can help learners ace their projects and exams. He had ample experience with test writing throughout his life, which allows him to share insights and tips to help keep learners on track to their academic goals.