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ACT Prep For Sophomores

Taking the ACT as a sophomore won’t help, because you don’t have the necessary information yet. But that doesn’t mean we’re against ACT prep for sophomores altogether.

We support ACT prep for sophomores because you can lay the groundwork early for test day success, without having to take the ACT itself.

Here are a number of other quick ACT prep tips that you can start working at during your sophomore and junior years.


Five Helpful ACT Prep For Sophomores’ Tips

Review The Official ACT Website

Learn everything you can about the test itself first.

Want to understand what the ACT is all about? Go to the official website and check it out.

The official website will give you an idea of what specific information you should have before signing up for a test date. You can also receive a number of sample questions too for practice.

Don’t expect to ace everything on the spot. Chances are good that you may not have all the knowledge required to answer.

However, you’ll see how the questions are structured. Other information you can pick up includes:

  • Test format
  • Timing
  • Content areas to study
  • Registration process
  • Score release dates

Get familiar with the overall test itself before digging into prep.

Start Planning Out Junior Year Coursework

Identify what you need to still study in junior year.

As a sophomore, you won’t have all the necessary information to take the ACT yet. However, your junior year will fill in those gaps.

When thinking about junior year classes, meet up with your guidance counselor. The two of you can discuss:

  • Classes you’ve taken so far
  • ACT subject matter you haven’t learned yet
  • Junior year classes to fill in those gaps

Think of this time as research and planning. When your junior year comes around, you’ll know exactly what to take and enough time to drill down into serious test prep.

Pay special attention to Math, English and Science courses.

Work On Your Time Management

Start work on your answering speed.

Pacing is one of the hardest things about the ACT. If you don’t work on it, then you’re guaranteed to miss questions because you ran out of time to answer.

So you need to answer correctly under tight time limits. One way to work on this is by sharpening up your time management skills.

Work on thinking through test problems fast and avoid second-guessing. This doesn’t mean that you rush through questions.

The goal is to work on answering questions correctly by streamlining your process. Build confidence in getting to your answers fast by knowing how to solve them without hesitation.

Near the end of your sophomore year, take some ACT practice tests and time yourself for each section. You’ll see where your pace is, and where it needs to improve immediately.


Assess Your Strong And Weak Subjects

Be honest about where you need to improve.

Are you great at Math but not as much with English? Are grammar rules easy to remember but formulas aren’t? These are important questions to ask yourself early on before taking the ACT.

Sit down and assess which subjects are easy, and which ones constantly give you trouble. Sophomore year is a great time to go through this self-evaluation because it lets you spend more time on fixing problem areas.

There are a number of other reasons to start doing this during the sophomore year:

  • You aren’t distracted by applying to colleges yet
  • Still have time to take junior-year courses to fill in gaps
  • You can take more time to practice and study

Putting off this self-assessment until junior year only causes stress due to the time crunch you’re under. Give yourself the mental and emotional space to tackle your problem areas early.

Then when your ACT test prep needs to begin, you’re already ahead of the game. At that point, it boils down to practice tests and working on pacing.

Spend Time Reading A Lot

Reading will do your brain and skills a lot of good during your sophomore year.

As far as ACT test prep goes, do yourself a favor and start reading a ton of new material. Read things like:

  • Short stories
  • Biographies
  • Scientific journal articles
  • Academic essays

Get familiar with all different kinds of genres and writing formats, fiction and non-fiction. The reason is you’ll be better prepared for passages and questions that come up on the ACT.

You’ll need to recognize things like:

  • Literary devices
  • Points of view and tone
  • Bias
  • Persuasive argument forms

In between, your vocabulary understanding will grow, making you less susceptible to trick questions. Even if it’s 20-30 minutes a day, take the time and start reading whatever you can.

Again, don’t stress over taking the ACT during your sophomore year. Instead, take this year to use our ACT prep for sophomores’ tips to better prepare you for junior year and the final test itself.


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Dr. Shaan Patel MD MBA

Written by Dr. Shaan Patel MD MBA

Prep Expert Founder & CEO

Shark Tank Winner, Perfect SAT Scorer, Dermatologist, & #1 Bestselling Author
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