Life hacks are all the rage right now: learning a language in 5 minutes a day, using recyclable items to boost your household storage, etc. But what about life hacks to improve your academic performance? We have a few ideas about how to prepare for the ACT the right way.

Life Hack #1: Commit to Study Mode

There’s no point in devoting time to study if you’re not going to concentrate. Instead, enhance your focus by going into “study mode.” Turn off your cell phone, close the door, and turn on an egg timer for the exact amount of time you want to study.

To avoid spending wasteful time online, you might consider an Add-On like Focus Mode for your browser.

Life Hack #2: Write Down Notes in Your Own Words

When considering how to prepare for the ACT, it’s more about finding what works best for you. One of the best ways to remember something is to make it relevant to you. Your mind tends to take what’s interesting and keep it around while the factoids you consider boring and dry are ignored.

To increase retention, take notes in your own words. Feel free to use slang. Write something as you would describe it. You’ll be amazed at the impact this has on your ability to keep up with the valuable information you write down.

Life Hack #3: Buy Yourself a Whiteboard

A whiteboard is a great way to both organize notes and prepare a to-do list. The key to the whiteboard? It can easily be erased. This means you can set achievable study goals on a regular basis. And even better, once they’re achieved, you can erase them and move on to the next challenge!

A whiteboard is also great for memorizing formulas and dates, as you can write them down and erase them once you need to test your memory.

Life Hack #4: Five Minutes Per Day

It’s hard to believe that five minutes per day spent on anything will help. But you’ll be amazed at the impact of five minutes spent completing one task: organizing.

Five minutes per day devoted to getting organized isn’t difficult. Many songs last longer than that. All you have to do is sort your notes into their appropriate groups, toss away items that don’t need to be used, and jot down your to-do list for the next day. It’s only five minutes, but it’s an investment of time that will pay major dividends down the line.

Life Hack #5: Rest

Perhaps the most efficient use of your time—aside from studying—is sleep. Consider “sleep time” your brain’s way of downloading new information. This is why cramming is so ineffective—inadequate sleep means you don’t retain nearly as much as you’d expect.

Effective rest, on the other hand, combined with frequent study sessions over the long term, will help you retain more information so you’re ready for the big day: the ACT.

One Final Life Hack

So, now you know some simple tricks on how to prepare for the ACT. But there’s still something else you can do to take your studying to the next level. To improve your scores, consider an effective ACT/SAT preparation course that comes loaded with a guarantee of improvement.