The week before the ACT, everything you do should revolve around one primary goal: Be your best at the test.
Now, this doesn’t mean to stop everything else and only worry about the ACT for the next few days.
Preparing for the ACT this week should fit into your current schedule without sacrificing your other priorities, whether they are personal or academic.
To have your very best testing day, spend the week focusing all your effort on building:
The truth of the matter is this: you can memorize every ACT prep book in the whole world, but none of it will do you any good if you show up to the test too tired to remember any of it, or too hungry to read the actual questions properly!
Whether you prepared fully or hardly cracked a book, rest assured that you are not alone and there is still time to improve your chances of getting your highest possible score - as long as you get focused and don’t use this as an excuse to stress yourself out.
Wondering How To Study For The ACT In A Week?
If you’re feeling ready and already utilize a solid study plan, feel free to jump down to the 8 tips everyone can employ to succeed on the ACT.
If you’re in the “hardly cracked a book” category (no judgment - life happens!) and you’re here looking for fast and thorough help, we’ve got you covered.
Take advantage of our extremely popular online ACT Quick Prep course.
You can raise your confidence and your score in as little as four hours.
Add it into your schedule right now, then get back to implementing all the last-minute ACT tips listed below.
The Best Things For Everyone To Do The Week Before The ACT
… including what to do the day before the ACT and what to do the night before the ACT.
To get through this moment with less stress and higher scores, here are the 8 things completely in your control that you can (and should!) do the week before your test date.
1. Accept Where You Are With ACT Prep
With the ACT looming large on the immediate horizon, fear can drive you to plumb the depths of the stress spectrum somewhere between exhaustion from needing to memorize every math formula on the planet and terror shutting you down because you feel like it’s too late to do anything about your reading skills anyway.
Let’s avoid both of those extremes.
Neither is helpful or healthy - or even true! So don’t give in to the fear.
Instead, focus on the reality of your situation and what you can do right now:
- If you studied hard and improved in practice: trust the work you’ve done.
Don’t change a thing.
Keep on using the tactics and strategies that earned you extra points in your practice tests.
Remember, your strategies in practice aren’t training wheels. Your strategies are the wheels. If you ditch them now, you won’t go anywhere when it counts.
- If you didn’t prepare: don’t cram, don’t beat yourself up, and don’t worry.
You are where you are. Don’t waste precious energy wishing it were different or stressing yourself out.
Ignore the urge to overload your brain with new information.
This is not the time to master new math and science concepts, not the moment to drill all English grammar rules. It won’t get you anywhere and might even end up losing you points by distracting, confusing, and exhausting you.
Looking for last-minute ACT tips?
This amazing, free ebook, The Insider’s Guide to the ACT & SAT, offers 35 actionable secret strategies you can start using right now to improve your score immediately.
2. Exercise At Least 30 Minutes A Day
It might sound silly, but exercising during the week can actually help you a lot come test day.
Among the many benefits that movin’ and groovin’ can offer you, are:
- Blowing-off stress
- Maintaining and sharpening your focus
- Sleeping more soundly
- An excellent little boost to your immune system so you can ward off any last-minute bug that so many of my students seem to catch right before their ACT test dates
- … And so much more!
Need a suggestion?
- Take a walk through a quiet, relaxing space.
- Try a free dance class on YouTube, to music that will make you smile.
- Get a few friends together to play your favorite outside game.
It doesn’t need to be lengthy and it doesn’t need to be intense, just give yourself some dedicated break time to get energy moving through your body and fresh blood pumping to your brain.
3. Add An Extra Helping Of Veggies Or Fruit To Each Of Your Meals This Week
Similar to item #2, this tip can help you keep sickness at bay and boost your energy.
In a study done by the Harvard School of Public Health, superfoods - especially those with antioxidant properties - are likely best consumed whole and not through supplements.
- Green Tea
Again, as with trying to cram in too much knowledge, there is such a thing as too much here if you go crazy with it.
It doesn’t have to be an avalanche of acai bowls. Don’t make it a cleanse. Simply add in what you like in a steady, moderate amount throughout the week.
4. Go To Bed Earlier Than Usual The Days Leading Up To The ACT
The fact of the matter is that most students are running on very little sleep these days.
Life is rough and high school can be tough, so all-nighters are not uncommon.
This can be especially harmful during a test week because if you keep your usual night-owl habits all week and then try to rest up the night before the test, you’ll have a hard time falling asleep.
Try to adjust your bedtime to a slightly earlier time this week so that you won’t have trouble falling asleep the night before the exam.
An extra hour each night will do wonders for your score!
5. On Friday, Collect All Of The Items You’ll Need In One Place
The last thing you need the morning of your exam is to realize your printer has run out of ink and you can’t print your admission ticket.
Set out everything on the checklist below before you go to bed Friday night, so you can grab it and go on Saturday morning.
- Your ACT admission ticket
- An official photo ID
- 4 sharpened non-mechanical #2 pencils
- A good eraser
- Your calculator (with an extra set of batteries)
- A few healthy snacks (and maybe some dark chocolate to keep you going!)
- A bottle of water
- A face mask
- Layers for adapting to the temperature of the room
To access your admission ticket and to see a list of approved calculators, visit the ACT website.
6. Wake Up 30 Minutes Early On Test Day
Remember, in order to do your best you want to eliminate stress and save your energy for the exam. Your ACT test date is not the day to oversleep and give yourself extra stress by rushing out the door, wondering if you’re going to make it.
Waking up early ensures that you have plenty of time to eat breakfast and get to your test site with no hassle.
It also helps ensure your brain will be more alert by the time the test begins.
If you’ve been resting up all week (see #4), an extra 30 minutes of sleep won’t be as hard to forego.
7. Eat A Good Breakfast The Morning Of The ACT
This is not an optional suggestion. Eating well before a test is imperative for optimal performance.
Most of the time when a lower-than-expected score appears, it is because the student didn’t eat right or didn’t eat at all.
Your brain is an organ. It needs food to maintain focus, especially in high-pressure scenarios.
And the ACT is a lot like a marathon.
You wouldn’t run 26.2 miles without any sustenance and expect to do well, would you? The same thinking should apply on test day, so eat up!
*Menu Ideas*: Scrambled eggs and oatmeal with a side of fresh fruit makes a great, filling start on test day. It will keep you powering through but won’t weigh you down.
- Aim for high-quality protein (eggs, milk, lean meats, etc.) and complex carbohydrates (such as whole grains, fresh fruits, veggies, legumes, etc.).
- Avoid breakfasts with too much fat or lots of refined sugar. The former will make you feel groggy; the latter will pep you up initially but cause you to crash mid-exam.
- Oh, and don’t forget to drink 2 glasses of water the night before the exam and at least 1 glass of water the morning of.
(Hydration is definitely key, but don’t overdo it because…well…you know…)
8. Breathe. You’ve got this.
No matter how you prepared or didn’t, you’re going to take the ACT.
Take a deep breath and trust yourself to deliver the very best score you’re capable of on that particular test date.
Remember, if you need extra help you can always check out our online ACT Quick Prep course that can give you fast strategies to be learned any time you have a spare few hours.
Or you can reach the Higher Scores Team here with any additional questions you may have.
Good luck to you, and may higher scores be yours!
Curious about “after the test”?...
How long does it take to get ACT scores?
You can find all the ACT score release dates here.
How is the ACT scored?
Read all about it in this article.
There’s even more where this came from in another curated list of everything you need to know about the ACT based on our most frequently asked questions.