As a test prep tutor, one of the most frequent questions I get is how long to study for the ACT / SAT. Luckily, the answer to this one is easy: the least amount of time possible!
For most of us, that means 2 to 3 months, just prior to the exam. The reason shorter periods of prep are generally better than longer periods boils down to having a sense of urgency.
In my experience, when students embark on longer periods of prep – anywhere between 6 months and a year – they invariably lack the sense of urgency that drives the most critical test prep factor: daily practice.
Making test prep your number 1 priority and practicing every day is critical for maximum score gains. Admittedly, it’s tough to do that for even 2 to 3 months, but it’s next to impossible (and probably not advisable) to do that for half a year or more!
If you really want a significant score increase, set your prep window for 2 to 3 months just prior to the exam, and make daily practice your number one priority during that time.