Crushing the ACT in 24 Hours: Time Management and Wellness Tips for Success

You’ve got a day to prepare for the ACT, and you’re feeling the pressure. Don’t worry, it’s possible to maximize your study time and get the most out of these last 24 hours.

You’ll need a strategic approach to cover all bases and make sure you’re ready. This guide will provide you with tips and strategies to make the most of your study time.

Remember, it’s not about cramming, but about effective and focused studying. Let’s dive in and get started on your one-day ACT study plan.

Key Takeaways

  • Establish specific study goals: You should start your study day by identifying your weak areas from past practice tests and setting a realistic score improvement goal within those areas.
  • Concentrate on high-impact topics: To maximize your study efforts, it’s prudent to focus on topics that frequently appear on the ACT, such as punctuation and grammar rules in the English section and algebra and geometry in the Math section.
  • Craft a study schedule: Divide your study day into sessions focusing on English, Math, Reading, and Science, giving priority to the areas that need the most improvement.
  • Use Practice Tests as a study tool: Practice tests are greatly beneficial in gauging your comprehension levels, simulating the actual test environment, and building time management skills.
  • Guideline for rest and relaxation: Allow enough time for breaks, maintain a balanced diet and get a good night’s sleep. Mindful breathing exercises or short meditation can also help in reducing anxiety and improving focus.
  • Acknowledge your progress and believe in your ability: Stay positive, don’t overstress, and embrace your achievements so far. Remember, cramming at the last minute isn’t the key–focus on quality study and well-being.

Set Clear Goals

Next on your list should be setting clear and precise goals. One common mistake students often make is having vague objectives. It’s important to remember that, your “study” time is only as effective as the clarity of your goals.

Before you commence studying, identify the sections of the ACT for which you need the most preparation. Your previous practice tests can serve as a useful reference. Recognize the areas where you’ve performed poorly and need improvement. This method helps in avoiding the trap of focusing too much on familiar topics and neglecting your weaknesses in the process. This not only ensures your study time is used effectively but also improves the overall quality of your revision.

In your goal setting session aim for the following:

  • Identify weak areas from past practice tests.
  • Within those weak areas, find the sub-topics that specifically require improvement.
  • Set a realistic score improvement goal within your weak areas.

It’s paramount that the goals you set are realistic and achievable. Setting an impractical objective might only discourage you when it’s not fulfilled.

If you’re targeting a specific college or scholarship, you might already have an ACT score range in mind. Compare that to your current averages from your practice tests, and evaluate if your goal is within reach. If you’re looking at improving by 1 to 2 points, your one-day intense study plan might just work. If the goal is higher, it might require a longer prep time, which is definitely not a sign to give up. Rather such a realisation helps in making an informed decision about your study plan and test dates.

Focus on High-Impact Topics

Once you’ve identified your weak areas and set clear goals for your ACT cram session, it’s time to Focus on High-Impact Topics. These are the areas that tend to come up frequently on the ACT, and improving in these areas can make a significant difference in your overall score.

It’s tempting to spread your study time thinly over every topic that might appear on the exam. However, this approach isn’t the most effective when you’re studying for the ACT in one day. Instead, zero in on the topics that will give you the most points for your effort.

In the English section, for example, punctuation and grammar rules make up a substantial portion of the questions. A strong understanding of these topics could potentially elevate your score by a few points. In the Math section, your focus should be on algebra and geometry, as these constitute about 55% and 25% of the questions, respectively.

SectionHigh-impact TopicsApproximate % of questions
EnglishPunctuation, grammar rules50%
MathAlgebra, geometry80%

Delving into these major areas can provide a substantial boost to your score. As you study, use targeted practice problems to repeatedly test and reinforce your grasp on these vital concepts. Most importantly, continually revisit your personal improvement goals. This will ensure you’re on the right track and making the most of your study day.

The ACT also includes Reading and Science sections. While these don’t have distinct high-impact topics like English and Math, focusing on key skills like critical reasoning and data interpretation can be hugely beneficial. After all, each question on the ACT is an opportunity to inch closer to your desired score. Make sure to use your time wisely.

Remember, with the strategic allocation of your study time on these high-impact topics, it’s entirely possible to make significant strides in your ACT preparation, even with only a day to spare.

Create a Study Schedule

Crafting a tailored and strategic study schedule is crucial when you’re preparing for the ACT in just one day. It can make a significant difference, helping you focus on the high-impact, subject-specific areas you need to nail.

Start by dividing your day into study sessions. You could have four study sessions, each dedicated to one test category: English, Math, Reading, and Science. Prioritize your sessions based on where you need the most improvement. If Math is a weakness, for example, schedule more time for it.

Here’s a quick guide to an effective one-day ACT study schedule:

  • Morning Session (7am – 9am) – Dive into English. Work on enhancing your grammar and punctuation prowess.
  • Late Morning Session (10am – 12pm) – Tackle Math. Focus on Algebra and Geometry, which carry significant weight in the ACT.
  • Afternoon Session (1pm – 3pm) – Prepare for Reading. Sharpen your critical reasoning skills.
  • Late Afternoon Session (4pm – 6pm) – Study Science. Improve your data interpretation capabilities.

Each session should include 50 minutes of intensive review, followed by a 10-minute break. Never underestimate the power of a short break. It’ll help to keep you fresh and productive, and it’s during breaks that your brain consolidates and absorbs information.

Use a variety of study materials during each session. Practice tests can be particularly useful. They’ll allow you to apply what you’re learning, test your understanding and evaluate your readiness for the real ACT test.

Remember, your goal isn’t to cover everything in each section. If you do that, you’d probably spread yourself too thin and might not retain much. It’s about skimming for the most impactful topics, diving deep into them, and leaving out less critical parts. That’s the strategic way to make significant progress even when time is scarce.

Utilize Practice Tests

In your solo ACT study marathon, practice tests are an essential factor. They not only help gauge your present comprehension levels, but also simulate the actual test environment. Through them, you can pinpoint weak spots, measure improvements, and build on your time management skills.

For a rounded understanding, let’s delve into how best to utilize these tests.

Get Acquainted with the ACT Format

First, familiarize yourself with the ACT format and instructions. This exposure can eliminate any surprises on test day. You’ll be dealing with four sections – English, Math, Reading, and Science. However, expecting the unknown can cause unnecessary nervousness. Hence, your first step should be to get comfortable with ACT’s structure through a practice test.

Identify Your Weak Spots

Completing practice tests will help you identify your weaker areas. You may breeze through English but find yourself stuck in Math, or vice versa. Recognize the areas where you need extra work. Concentrate on reinforcing these sections with a targeted approach on your study day. It’s about understanding your capabilities, not mastering everything.

Time Yourself

One of the significant challenges of the ACT is its tight timing. Each section has a time limit, requiring fast thinking and efficient reasoning. By timing your practice tests, you’ll get a sense of your speed and identify where you may need to pick up the pace. Remember, appropriate time allocation can be the difference between an average and excellent score.

In your study strategy, make sure to include multiple practice tests. They offer valuable insights and best mimic the actual exam scenario. And as the old saying goes, practice makes perfect. So while it’s about absorbing information, it’s also about applying it effectively under timed conditions. Now, let’s move onto the next section: Reviewing Mistakes from your practice tests.

Relax and Rest

Tasked with learning how to study for the ACT in a day? Remember, it’s equally vital to relax your mind and give your body ample rest. Intense study sessions can elevate stress levels, potentially impeding your ability to absorb and retrieve information.

First, balance study sessions with breaks. Have you ever heard of the Pomoduro technique? Developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s, this time management method could be a game-changer in your last-minute ACT prep. Here’s how it works:

  • Study for a 25-minute block (one Pomoduro)
  • Bask in a five-minute break

Repeat this cycle four times. After the fourth cycle, reward yourself with an extended 15-30 minute break. Keep repeating. This study-break pattern aids in maintaining mental freshness during your review.

Second, replacing your cup of joe with calming drinks like herbal tea or warm milk can help soothe your nerves. Now’s not the time for a caffeine overload that could leave you jittery and unfocused. Prioritize nutrition: a balanced diet plays a key role in maintaining high energy levels and improving concentration.

Third, don’t forget the importance of a good night’s sleep. As per the National Sleep Foundation, a teenager needs 8-10 hours of sleep for optimal performance. Sacrificing sleep time could lead to a sluggish mind, impeding memory recall and comprehension.

Next, take a deep breath. Mindful breathing exercises or short meditation sessions can help reduce anxiety and improve focus. Even a few minutes of these can make a significant difference.

Lastly, remember that all-important mantra – stress won’t help your score. Believe in your ability and all you’ve achieved during your ACT preparations. Ignore the temptation to cram last-minute information. Instead, focus on calming your mind and arriving well-rested at the test center.

Review errors, take multiple practice tests, and understand their formats. But also remember to treat your mind and body right. Your well-being matters just as much in your ACT success story.


So, you’ve got your plan. Now it’s time to put it into action. Remember, balance is key. Use the Pomodoro technique to manage your study time effectively. Don’t skip meals or sleep – they’re crucial for maintaining your energy and focus. Sip on calming drinks and keep your diet balanced. Practice mindful breathing and meditation to keep stress at bay. Most importantly, don’t forget to review your errors and take as many practice tests as possible. It’s not just about studying hard, but studying smart. You’re equipped with the right tools and strategies. Now, go ace that ACT!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the main focus of this article?

This article primarily focuses on the importance of relaxing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle while preparing for the ACT, especially when you only have one day to prepare.

What studying technique does the article advocate?

The article recommends using the Pomodoro technique, a time management method involving breaks after set intervals, for efficient study sessions.

What kind of nutrition does the article suggest for ACT preparation?

Balanced diet and calming drinks are suggested to help maintain energy levels and focus during the study period.

What strategies are proposed to combat stress and anxiety?

Mindful breathing exercises and meditation are highlighted as effective strategies for reducing anxiety and stress while studying.

Does the article suggest taking practice tests for ACT preparation?

Yes, alongside focusing on mental and physical well-being, the article encourages reviewing mistakes and taking multiple practice tests to improve your ACT scores.