How much to study for the act/sat

hi guys, i really have no idea where to post this. so i will do it here
i probably shouldnt be posting this in this forum even but i dont know where else to do it and i trust your opinions so here goes:

how much should i be studying for the act and sat on my days off?

my parents say 2-3 hours on all of my days off. if i want to get in the 33+ for the act. and 2300s for the sat.

i am mostly targeting the college students and the juniors/seniors in this forum who did well on these tests.

thank you, vivek

p.s. i got a 23 on the act as of my 8th grade year which is really good for that age.(about the same as the 9th graders that year.)

I got a 1440 on the SAT as a Freshman(ps. before they added the writing section), all I did to study is take a practice test. The SAT is not that hard, the only thing worth studying for that is the vocab, some of that is brutal.

As for the ACT, I’ll get back to you.

Study on all the spare time you have, and thoroughly read sparknotes… I scored a 26 on the ACT and a 1790 on the SAT and that is pretty much all I did.

But I do recommend preparing your approach more than anything. These tests pretty much measure your will and ability to problem solve and analyze on the fly. For the SAT, I would expand your vocabulary (like Vogel said above), and the ACT, heavily prepare yourself for the science portion if everything else is ok for you. It was the science portion that held me back tremendously.

That said, good luck buddy, and good luck to all the test takers out there.


PS: and I pray you have a cool proctor… that usually helps and lowers the nervousness of the situation.

yeah my strongest subject is science, then math, then reading/english.

i did absolutley horrid on the science section of the act because my brain died after those 2 hours of test taking. (i was very easily distracted after that. the person sitting two feet in front of me kept dragging his foot across the floor and it just annoyed the heck out of me. i went absolutely nuts for that period of time. i almost threw my calculator at his head. i already knew him before the test.)


p.s. whats a proctor?

the proctor is the person giving the test.

ah ok. the last one was kind of new at it i thought. bit inexperienced

Study your vocabulary and grammar.

My advice is to skip this post and re-read Vogel648’s. Why? It’s shorter and it says the same thing. Having said that, here is my opinion. Study only as much as you feel like and not a moment more; don’t let your parents or other friends stress you out. I have two reasons for this;

  1. The SAT is sometimes used as an indicator of freshman year performance. I’m not sure what the ACT correlates to. In either case, your score should, taking the test many, many times, ‘reflect’ your ‘ability’. A week or two of cramming won’t change much (take this with a grain of salt though–I used to be a huge fan of analogies and enjoy math, so I may not be representative of the population). Also as a note, I am not an advocate of taking the test multiple times. I took the test once in 6th grade and once in 10th grade.

  2. Stress is simply just too stressful to be useful. While that may be circular logic, I found that being relaxed did wonders for me. If you find that studying and preparing means you can approach the test relaxed, by all means, study. I find that sleeping 14 hours before important exams, doing solo Charleston, and having a mint to eat during the exam helps me relax. If you’re like me, I suggest the Lifesavers pep-o-mints.

Hope this helps,


SAT/ACT is more of a patience test than anything. It’s very long. Like others have suggested, study while you can. Make sure you get some good night sleep the night before, and have a good breakfast in the morning before you go in.

Vocabulary, lots of sleep, a practice test or so some time well before, and for the essay, go looonnnnggg. (1 page gets about 6 points total.)

Well, lets see

I’ve never studied for a standardized test (and I rarely study for any other test :stuck_out_tongue: ). Having said that, don’t follow my study habits.

You can probably base me off your team’s programmer… very good at math and science, horrible at English and such. The breakdown of my scores are as follows:
SAT (2000 total)
Math - 780
Verbal - 660
Written - 560 (essay - 7)

ACT (31 total)
English - 26
Math - 34
Reading - 30
Science - 35
Writing - 8

If I were to study, I would probably brush up on my vocab… Good luck!

I’d actually recommend you have a lot of starches the day before in addition to a nice breakfast. You don’t want a rush of energy then to burn out (candy bar/other sugary item=bad) mid way through the test. If you have a nice starchy mean for dinner the night before you’ll have sustained energy through the whole exam (or as much as you can taking those abominable tests).

You know yourself and your test-taking habits better than we do, so I really think it depends on your gut instinct as to what you should do. From my personal experience, my parents nagged me to study, but I felt that I could do more productive things with my time so I never got around to it. I walked in cold, but confident that I would do well, and I came out with a 2280. So as you can see, even people who think they know what’s best for you may not… go with what you think is best. And be confident in your abilities; that helps so much.

I didn’t study for the PSAT, and I wasn’t too pleased with my score. I crushed the math, but my verbal and writing scores weren’t very good…

I take the SAT in early May, so I have some studying to do. :o

I’m a senior in college, so its been a while since I took either test. But, I do remember quite a bit about the process still. Let me first say this: the goal of studying for the SAT/ACT is NOT to remember every possible question they can ask. There are literally thousands of random vocab words, analogies and math questions they can throw your way. The goal of studying SHOULD be to understand the mindset of the test writers. Understand how they are likely to ask certain kinds of questions, and the response that THEY are looking for (not always the one that is the most correct in your experience).

I do not really have a time amount to offer you. What I would suggest doing is getting a practice book with old editions of the exams in it, and attempt a few of those as practice. Do not do so much you burn your brain out on it though.

FWIW, I scored 30 on the ACTs and 1430 (this was before the writing was required and a perfect was 1600), and that was with very little practice.

Also keep in mind that test scores are not the sole criteria for college. Your grades, extra curricular participation, and how you present yourself all have as much, if not greater, influence on your acceptance.

Well your profile says your age is 14…so you have plenty of time before you take the tests that really count. If you’re already taking the actual ACT that is practice enough. It is my experience that you can do very well on both tests with minimal preparation, but to get the kind of scores you’re shooting for you have to study/practice. I did well on both tests without too much preparation, but not as high as the scores you mentioned. Just remember that you have plenty of time and the standardized tests aren’t the only things colleges look at.

well, i am aiming at getting into one of the 6 year medical programs.

and there are only about 36 decent universities who teach med school

i am probably going to try to sign up for college in my junior year so i will need to take the tests for the last time(before i start to sign up any way) at the end of my sophomore year or the beginning of my junior year.

thanks, vivek

p.s. i still love robotics and engineering but i am also sort of interested in the medical stuff and the jobs are better paying:o

FIRST is something i plan to do for the rest of my life.

The best preparation you can have is honestly just to learn as much as you can in school. I didn’t study at all for the ACT other than glancing through a practice test. I saw that there were some things I didn’t know, but a lot that I either did know or could reason my way through. I had EXCELLENT English teachers who were very nitpicky about grammar and word use, so I had that drilled into my head. Math I’ve just been good at, and science is basically reading. Honestly just read the questions and you’ll be fine.

I got 36 in math, 35 in English, 34 in reading and 32 in science, and all I did was read through the practice test, sleep, and bring trail mix, my calculator, 20 sharpened pencils(I was nervous!!) and water. Nothing is a substitute for learning all throughout your educational carreer, and no book or crash course can change that.

Same thing with the SAT, though personally I like ACT math better because like a lot of FIRSTies I know, the math that is covered on the SAT is pretty basic, and it is stuff a lot of us did in 7thish grade. The ACT at least has some trig. 2260 on the SAT, and for that I did the same preparation.

Honestly, you are really young, and test prep shouldn’t consume your life at ALL. Do your homework, talk to teachers about papers, learn your math. If it makes you feel better and more relaxed, buy a test prep book. I see that you have high ambitions, but really there is no better way to prep for tests than to do well in school. And in the end, what happens happens. My best friend got a 27 on the ACT but has straight A’s in BC Calculus, AP Physics, and many other hard courses. He got into excellent colleges, so while that 33 or whatever on the ACT is nice, don’t sacrifice an episode of Grey’s Anatomy or Mythbusters to get it… :slight_smile:

PS… by the time you’d actually get your medical degree, based on the direction things are going, medicine will not be the high paying field it is today what with malpractice insurance being so expensive and probably somewhat socialized healthcare. I would advise you to pursue medicine because it is something you like and you get joy out of helping people rather than for the money, because that’s something you can’t necessarily count on.

It all depends on the person and what you expect to get. Typically, studying will get you a higher score, but only if you know what to study and how to prepare. I did prep stuff for the English (grammar) and I got a 24. I got a composite of 29 without doing anything else to prepare for the exam (34 in Science (big wow!), 31 in Reading, a 28 in Math (not bad, ok for engineering), and a 8 on Writing).