You've decided that you want to go to college. That means you have to take the ACT. You took the ACT without knowing anything about it and now you don't like your score. You wish you would have set goals before taking the ACT. What would a realistic goal toward the ACT be? You didn't think the ACT was going to be so intimidating because you've heard others take it and do well.
What if there was a way to study for the test and get a better score? I am here to teach you how to set SMART goals to ACE the ACT or at least get a score the colleges will like.
Students have been preparing for the ACT for a long time now. They set realistic goals and practiced for the test. The school I went to offered after school classes to prepare me for the ACT. Since not all schools offer these classes I will teach you how to make SMART goals with easy to complete steps. Stay tuned at the end for a free gift.
What is a SMART GOAL?
Smart goals are the most effective type of goals people use today. Smart goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. Let's go into detail on each part of a SMART goal.
Be Specific with your SMART GOAL
When deciding on a realistic goal for the ACT, you have to be specific about what want. Most students have an ideal ACT score to get into a certain college or scholarship. When you are not specific about what you want, you can't know for sure if you have met your goal.
As you make your goal, ask yourself these questions:
Here's an example of a SMART goal for the ACT:
I will earn a 26 on my ACT studying 3 times per week for three months.
Make your SMART GOAL Measurable
When a goal is measurable, you will know exactly when you have accomplished the goal. In the goal above, you want to earn a 26, learn the skills until you are consistently earning a 26.
Attainable SMART GOALS are easier to keep
When a goal is attainable, it means that you can and will accomplish it. If your first ACT was a 14, striving for a 36 might not be attainable in three months. Be careful when striving for perfection. Look at your baseline score and how much time you have available when making a goal attainable.
SMART GOALS must be Relevant
Referring to the goal of a 26, ask yourself why is this score important? Will you get a specific scholarship for this score? Is it because someone else wants you to get this score? The SMART goals that you make have to be appropriate to be achievable.
SMART GOALS are Timely
Putting a timeline on your goal keeps you accountable. Procrastination is an easy way to put off your goals until you are too late. Many of my students procrastinate taking the ACT until their senior year. This causes them to feel rushed and hate standardized testing. You can relieve test anxiety by planning ahead.
Have you already scheduled an ACT? If so, you have a limited amount of time to study and your realistic goals should reflect this. If not, you can create more difficult goals that will take longer to accomplish. Then sign up for the test when you are closer to accomplishing it.
I recommend you study first, before you plan a test date. However, if you already have a test date scheduled, you still have time to study, even if it's only a week away. Or you can reschedule the test, but that will cost you more money.
SMART GOALS and ACT test prep
Before you can set SMART goals, you must take a baseline ACT. Even if you have already taken the ACT, you need to take another one in the privacy of your own home. The score sheet you received in the mail was not enough information to help you study. The score sheet doesn't analyze the question types you got wrong so you can master the skills.
To use an ACT study guide or not
First, you must choose the test you are going to take. There are several choices to choose from. For example, you can choose to take a practice test from the ACT website. This is FREE for you to use. However, it might not give you the analysis to help you study later. Another example of a practice test is taking a test from a study guide. Study guides not only give you many tests to take but also teaches you what skills to study to increase your score. Here is a review of the study guides I use.
When you take the baseline ACT, make sure you set up the same parameters as the real test. You want to take the test in the same time frame and in a quiet area as you would at a testing center/school. As you practice the parameters, you will become less nervous because you will get used to it.
Make SMART goals using your score
Look at the questions you got wrong and analyze what skills you still need to master. Study these areas the most. Also look at the test for easy points such as wordiness or basic math questions. These areas give you quick points.
Take a look at your score and missed question types to see if you can figure out what a realistic new score will be. Let's say you received a 19 as a score, but didn't answer all of the questions. Here is a place for improvement.
Sample SMART goal
Increase score from 19-25 on Reading ACT by answering all of the questions in the time frame allowed.
Then create smart objectives to accomplish your SMART goal. SMART objectives are steps to accomplish the goal.
Maybe you struggled with detail questions during the reading test. Detail questions are one of the easiest areas on the reading test. Study this area to increase your score.
Sample SMART Objective
Study the key words used in detail question types and look back in the reading every time.
It is easy to increase a low score (change a 14 to a 20) but more difficult to raise a higher score (change a 30 to a 36). So you will plan to study less to raise a lower score and more to raise a higher score.
Creating SMART goals and timelines
Figure on studying for at least 10 hours for each composite point you want to increase. A composite point is the average of the 4 major test scores on the ACT.
Before you study, take a look at your schedule. Think about activities that might get in your way. These activities include work, extracurricular activities, family, school and friends. You don't want to start studying just to stop because something else got in the way. Instead, you want to devote your energy to studying.
Using the strategies describe above, create SMART goals you can feel good about and ACE the ACT.
Wait! Don't go yet! I promised you a free gift. Here is a FREE ACT study plan just for you.
My name is Stena Schmitt.