How to Prep For the ACT Essay This Summer

by: David Recine

It’s summer! That means no school, less stress, and more time for fun. It also means more time to aim for a top ACT Essay score in the coming school year. Building good writing skills takes time, so all the free days you have in the summer are a great chance to master the ACT Essay.

Managing your ACT Essay Study Time During The Summer

Without regular school classes to attend, every summer day can seem wide open and full of possibility. This can be a double-edged sword though- with so much time to work with, it can be easy to procrastinate on your studies or mismanage your study time.

To maintain a healthy ACT Essay study schedule, commit yourself to a certain number of ACT Essay prep hours per week. When deciding how many hours you should study, bear in mind that it takes regular, steady practice to build any kind of academic skill. So you’ll need enough hours for study sessions on multiple days in the week- ideally, at least three days of study each week, and more if possible.

It’s just as important to remember that writing practice takes deep, sustained focus. ACT Essay skills can’t be developed and improved with 30 minute drills, or even one hour practice sessions. To really get a feel for the ACT Essay, your study sessions should be two hours long, or longer. Try to reserve a few full mornings, afternoons or evenings of ACT essay practice every week.

Finally, think about test registration dates, and the overall timeline of ACT Essay prep that you want to follow. The first of the after-summer ACT test dates this year is September 10, 2016. If you can study enough during the summer to be ready for this early test date, you’ll be able to get a major testing requirement out of the way early in the coming school year. So try to aim for ACT Essay readiness by the end of August.

Knowing What to Study During Your Summer ACT Essay Prep Sessions

This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s surprisingly easy to select the wrong kinds of study materials for your ACT Essay prep. Be sure you practice with the new format of the ACT Essay, as the ACT Essay was significantly redesigned last fall. Editions of the ACT prep books form just a few years ago won’t have the Essay prep materials you need.

Additionally, you should be very aware of the differences between the ACT Essay and the SAT Essay. While the ACT and SAT are similar in many ways, their essays are quite different. Make a careful ACT vs SAT comparison before you begin your ACT Essay prep, especially if you are considering doing the essay for both exams.

About the Author: David is a test prep expert at Magoosh. He has a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and a Masters in Teaching English to Speakers of other Languages from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. He has been teaching K-12, University, and adult education classes since 2007 and has worked with students from every continent. Currently, David lives in a small town in the American Upper Midwest. When he’s not teaching or writing, David studies Korean, plays with his son, and takes road trips to Minneapolis to get a taste of city life.