How To Create A Study Plan For The SAT Or ACT

The American College Testing and Scholastic Assessment Test are two of the most recognized and used standardized tests in the United States.

These exams are required for admission to many colleges and universities, including Ivy League schools.

If you’re aiming for these top-tier institutions, you must know how you can create a study plan for the SAT or ACT, so your scores can be at their highest possible level.

Here is what we recommend.

How Long Should You Study For The SAT Or ACT?

The duration of your study for the SAT or ACT depends on your current score and how much time you have to study.

If you’re a new student, spending as much time as possible on practice tests and study materials is best. This will help build up your confidence before taking the real thing.

If your goal is to get an idea of what material will be covered in each section, then a shorter amount of time should be spent. 

It’s good practice to get used to test-taking techniques in general so that those skills will come more naturally when faced with unfamiliar situations.

How Much Time To Spend Studying The SAT Or ACT Each Day

The amount of time you should spend studying for the SAT or ACT depends on your current level of knowledge. 

If you’re just starting out and haven’t studied for either test, then it is recommended that you spend at least three hours per day on each subject area (e.g., math). 

If you already have a good understanding of the content covered in each subject area,

And if you’re familiar with how these topics are typically tested, then there’s no need to devote as much time per day to studying as someone who is just starting out

What To Study For The SAT Or ACT

The SAT and ACT are both tests of knowledge, but the way they measure that knowledge is different. 

The SAT measures your ability to understand what you read, it’s a test of reading comprehension,

Whereas the ACT assesses how well you have learned specific skills, such as algebra or critical thinking.

You should study for both exams because they’re very different from each other. For example, on the SAT, there are four sections: 

  • Math Section I
  • Reading Section I 
  • Writing Sample/Essay
  • Essay Score Calculation (optional) 
  • Science Reasoning Test (optional)

On the ACT Composite, Tested Subject Tests include 

  • English Language Arts (ELA)
  • Literature in English Composition Assessment Tool In Context Reading Comprehension Passages 1 – 2
  • Mathematics Assessments Including Algebra 1 & Geometry Skills Tests 1 – 3
  • Science Assessments Including Biology 1
  • Earth Science Questions About Nature Screenings

How To Create A Study Plan For The SAT Or ACT

Make A Study Plan

A study plan is a list of all the steps you’ll take to prepare for the test. Creating a road map

That shows how each step relates to other steps and how major themes in your life connect them is important.

Here are some suggested questions to consider when creating your study plan: 

  • What skills do I want to improve? 
  • How will I use them? 
  • Will my performance on this topic be tested again later on? 
  • What other tests do I need access to prepare for? 
  • How many hours per week should I spend studying each subject matter? 

To answer these questions, think about whether there’s any overlap between subjects or topics; if so, it could help narrow down which ones need more attention first.

By creating a study plan, you’re showing that you care about getting a great score. A study plan will help you get the most out of your time.

Many things can go wrong in the process, and if you don’t have a plan, it’s easy to get discouraged when things aren’t going according to plan.

The best way to ensure that happens is by creating a study plan before starting any other part of this process.

This will allow you to work towards your goal score and see exactly how much time each area takes so that when it comes down to crunch time,

You know exactly what needs more focus or less focus based on how much work has already been done.

Take A Timely Diagnostic Test

 As mentioned above, performing a diagnostic test is the first step in determining the starting point for the study. 

Many test prep centers will offer free diagnostic tests even if you don’t use their study or testing program, so these can be valuable resources. 

A diagnostic test is a good way to perform this test in a simulated test environment.

It is still valuable if you choose to do a diagnostic test at home, but it is important to be strict with yourself. 

Try to simulate the test environment as best as possible by asking a sibling or parent to take the exam. 

Ensure you use a timer for each section and stick to the allotted time. In the real test, you cannot take extra time or go back to previous sections to change your answers.

Before you take the diagnostic test, reviewing the format to see how the test is structured may be helpful. 

But remember, the test’s purpose is to establish a rough baseline score to help you determine your weaknesses and how much studying you need to do. 

Therefore, you do not need to prepare before the diagnostic test.

Test Options

Another important tip is that third-party exams like those from Kaplan, Barrons,

And Princeton Review is usually highly deflated, meaning it will be much harder than your actual exam.

The most representative practice tests are from the actual CollegeBoard, but we don’t recommend wasting official tests on an early diagnostic test. 

There aren’t too many CollegeBoard tests publicly available, so start taking the official exams as soon as you get closer to the actual test date. 

You can also use the PSAT or PreACT to gauge how well you will do on the SAT or ACT. 

Remember that these are different tests, but they give you an idea of ​​how much studying you need to do. 

For more information, see our guides to preparing for the PSAT and PreACT.

Set Reasonable Goals

When setting goals, it’s important to figure out how you stand in terms of your GPA and test scores;

We recommend trying our chancing engine to see your personalized odds at different colleges.

Once you’ve determined what the schools you’re interested in are looking for, you can set goals for the scores you want to achieve on the SAT and ACT,

Both for individual sections and for the overall test. 

For instance, if you are interested in a career in the STEM fields, good scores on the SAT Math and ACT Science sections are more important than the Reading and Writing sections. 

Basically, you want to be able to demonstrate that you have the needed skills and knowledge to succeed in the field you want to pursue in college.

We recommend keeping an Excel spreadsheet so you can track your progress and even update your goals as you continue your studies. 

You can track the hours you study, the scores you get on practice tests, and even the scores you get on mini-practice quizzes. 

It can also help to put your goal score at the very bottom so you can always see it. Staying organized is the most important part of the process.


How Do I Write A Study Plan For The ACT?

Schedule at least one hour per week for ACT preparation, although 2-3 hours per week is recommended. On the weeks you take the ACT practice test, plan to spend 6 hours preparing for the ACT.

Is One Month Enough To Study For SAT?

Yes, although spending 10 to 20 hours per week on SAT preparation is recommended over two or three months.

Is 3 Months Enough To Study For SAT?

Three months is a large amount of time to prepare for the SAT. You can spread out your studies and have plenty of time to master the concepts.

What Is A Good SAT Study Plan?

It would help if you planned to spend an hour per week preparing for the SAT, although it is recommended that you set aside 2-3 hours per week.

Is Studying 2 Hours A Day Enough For SAT?

We recommend spending 6-20 hours preparing for your first SAT. Make sure you set aside time to take a practice test.

Is Two Months Enough To Study For The ACT?

Two hours of study per week for two months is a good goal. You can try just one hour a week if you have a good plan.

Is One Week Enough To Study For The ACT?

At best, we recommend that you spend at least five weeks preparing for the ACT. Giving yourself more time to practice makes it easier to guarantee a score increase. Focusing on your weaknesses is a key part of this effective plan.

What Is The Best Age To Start Studying For The SAT?

For most students, the ideal time to start preparing is at the beginning of the summer before their first year. There are more reasons. First, most students take the necessary math classes in the second year.

Is Khan Academy Enough For SAT?

Yes! Khan Academy offers personalized and interactive tools and resources for SAT study and preparation. This site provides students with a customized practice plan based on their practice results or previous scores.

Is The SAT Easy Without Studying?

While you can’t get a zero on the test (everyone who takes the SAT receives at least a 400), you have almost a similar chance of passing the test without studying.

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Preparing for the SAT and ACT can be fun, but it’s also an important part of getting into college. 

If you want to do well on these tests and get into your dream school, then make sure that you plan out your studying carefully.

By following our tips on creating a good study plan for the SAT or ACT and what not to miss during this process, you will be able to confidently turn in high-scoring test scores.

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