How to Balance ACT Prep Classes with Schoolwork?

 Hello, high school students! We understand the immense pressure you face as you navigate the demanding world of academics while preparing for the critical ACT. Striking a balance between ACT prep and schoolwork can seem like a formidable challenge, but fear not – we’re here to help you tackle this balancing act with confidence and ease. 

At the same time, keeping up with your schoolwork is crucial, as your academic performance during these pivotal years plays a significant role in the college application process. Juggling both ACT prep and schoolwork can be overwhelming, but with the right strategies and mindset, you can excel in both areas.

The Struggle Is Real

Preparing for the ACT while juggling a full load of high school classes and extracurricular activities can be a daunting task. Preparing well for the ACT exam is key to getting the score you want. Keeping up with your schoolwork is also crucial for college applications. Balancing ACT prep and schoolwork can be challenging, but it’s doable with planning, time management, effective study strategies, and help from experienced ACT tutors. This post offers tips to help you succeed.

Identify Your Goals and Deadlines

The first step to balance ACT prep with schoolwork is identifying your goals and deadlines. Determine when you plan to take the ACT and set a target score based on the requirements of your dream colleges. Research the average ACT scores accepted by your top-choice institutions and set your goals accordingly. 

Additionally, make a note of important academic deadlines, such as midterms, finals, and project due dates. By clearly understanding your goals and deadlines, you can more effectively allocate your time and resources.

Here’s a handy table to help you visualize how to allocate your time among various tasks:

Task Importance Time Allocation
ACT Prep High 2-3 hours per week
Schoolwork High Prioritize based on deadlines
Extracurricular Activities Moderate 1-2 hours per day
Self-Care High 1 hour per day

Create a Comprehensive Study Plan

Once you clearly understand your goals and deadlines, create a comprehensive study plan that incorporates both ACT prep and schoolwork. Allocate specific times for each task, ensuring that you dedicate sufficient time to both areas. 

Consider using a calendar or digital planner to visually organize your schedule and keep track of your commitments. Break down your study sessions into manageable chunks and prioritize subjects or topics that require more attention.

For ACT prep, create a study schedule that covers all sections of the exam, including English, Math, Reading, and Science. Identify your strengths and weaknesses through practice tests and result analysis. Dedicate more time to areas where you need improvement and incorporate targeted practice questions and drills.

For schoolwork, prioritize assignments by due dates and difficulty levels. Collaborate with classmates or form study groups to tackle challenging concepts or projects. Seek guidance from teachers or tutors if you encounter any roadblocks or require additional support.

Effective Time Management

Prioritize Tasks and Use Time Blocks

Effective time management is crucial when balancing ACT prep and schoolwork. Prioritize your tasks based on their urgency and importance, and allocate time blocks accordingly. For instance, you might dedicate the morning hours to attending classes and the evenings to ACT prep or homework. 

You can switch between ACT prep and schoolwork on different days to give both enough attention. Be realistic and plan for unexpected events. Leave some flexibility in your schedule to accommodate unforeseen events or last-minute assignments.

Eliminate Distractions and Optimize Study Sessions

Distractions can significantly hinder your productivity and make it challenging to balance multiple tasks. Identify and eliminate potential distractions, such as social media notifications, unnecessary background noise, or the temptation to multitask.

First, set up a focused study spot, free of distractions. Then, break study periods into manageable chunks. Take breaks to stay sharp and avoid burnout. For example, try using the Pomodoro technique. Work for 25 minutes, then rest for 5. This strategy enhances productivity and prevents mental fatigue.

Active Learning and Retention Techniques

To maximize the effectiveness of your study sessions, incorporate active learning and retention techniques. Instead of passive reading or memorization, engage in activities that promote understanding and application of concepts. 

This could include creating flashcards, summarizing key points, or teaching the material to a friend or study group. Active learning encourages critical thinking, problem-solving, and long-term retention of information. For ACT prep, practice tests, and timed drills are invaluable tools.

Simulate the actual test environment by taking full-length practice tests under timed conditions. Analyze your performance, identify areas for improvement, and focus your study efforts accordingly.

Active Learning and Retention Techniques

To maximize the effectiveness of your study sessions, incorporate active learning and retention techniques. Instead of passive reading or memorization, engage in activities that promote understanding and application of concepts. This could include creating flashcards, summarizing key points, or teaching the material to a friend or study group.

Don’t hesitate to seek help when needed. Collaborate with classmates, join study groups, or consult with teachers or tutors for assistance with challenging concepts or topics. This not only enhances your understanding but also fosters a supportive learning environment, which can be beneficial for your overall success.

Self-Care and Balance

While dedicating time to ACT prep and schoolwork is essential, prioritizing rest is equally important. Ensure that you get sufficient sleep, engage in physical activity, and pursue hobbies or activities that bring you joy and help you de-stress. 

A well-rested, balanced mind is better equipped to handle the demands of academic life. Balancing ACT prep with schoolwork is a challenging journey; celebrating small wins along the way is crucial. 

Acknowledge and reward your accomplishments, no matter how small they may seem. This positive reinforcement will help you stay motivated and focused on your goals.


Balancing ACT prep with schoolwork requires dedication, discipline, and a strategic approach. By prioritizing your goals, creating a comprehensive study plan, effectively managing your time, leveraging effective study strategies, and practicing self-care, you can navigate this challenging period successfully. 

Remember, the key is to find a balance that works for you and to stay focused on your long-term goals. With perseverance and the right mindset, you can excel in both ACT prep and your academic pursuits, setting yourself up for success in the college admissions process and beyond.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How much time should I dedicate to ACT prep?

The amount of time you need to dedicate to ACT prep can vary based on your current scores, target scores, and individual learning pace. However, most experts recommend spending at least 2-3 hours per week on focused ACT preparation several months before your test date.

  1. How can I manage stress and avoid burnout?

Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is key to avoiding burnout. Make time for self-care activities like exercise, hobbies, and socializing. Additionally, prioritize getting enough sleep and maintaining a balanced diet to keep your mind and body in top shape.

  1. Should I prioritize ACT prep or schoolwork?

While both are important, it’s generally advisable to prioritize your schoolwork over ACT prep, as your academic performance directly impacts your college applications. However, striking a balance between the two is crucial, and you should allocate dedicated time for ACT prep as well.

Key Takeaways

  • Create a comprehensive study plan that allocates dedicated time for both ACT prep and schoolwork.
  • Prioritize tasks based on urgency and importance, and use time-blocking techniques to optimize your study sessions.
  • Incorporate active learning strategies, such as practice tests and flashcards, for effective ACT prep.
  • Seek help from teachers, tutors, or study groups when needed.
  • Prioritize self-care by getting enough rest, exercising, and engaging in activities that bring you joy.

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