When I was a junior in high school, I was told by a number of people that it's impossible to study for the ACT. None of my friends studied for it, that's for sure. I had a perspective that was slightly different from theirs, however; I had just returned to the United States after a year studying in Japan.
In Japan, high school seniors must take college entrance exams. They need to pass this exam to get accepted. So, for months before they take their tests, they study everything they have learned since the 7th grade.
They never know what could be on the test, so they cover all the subjects, especially those that a school specializes in (i.e. a friend applying to a foreign studies school studied English extensively).
I had friends at my Japanese high school who were going through this studying and testing process while I was there. It was an annoyance for me, because I wanted to go out and sing karaoke or get sushi with them, but they refused because they needed to study. For them, their futures were depending on one single test.
Most Americans don't take these tests so seriously. The system is different here―if your score isn't high enough for one school, you simply apply to a school where the average scores aren't so high.
What many young people don't realize is that, in today's world, where you go to school can and will matter when you're looking for a job. Even when my parents were my age, the same was true.
My dad's degree in business management from a lesser school got him nowhere (well, he was offered a manager position at a Wendy's) until he was in his 50s, and had put in nearly 30 years as a meat cutter. Even so, his management position of a meat department in a grocery store doesn't pay much more than his previous position.
So, when I was back in the US, I wanted to perform well on this test to get into the school of my choice. I went to my local Barnes and Noble and picked up a copy of The ACT for Dummies. If you're short on cash, you needn't buy one of these rather expensive books.
Your local library should have the previous year's edition, which will work just fine. These books can guide you in the studying process. They can teach you not only what to study but how to study as well.
For example, because I reviewed basic math equations before taking the ACT, I scored much higher on the math section of the test than I would have without studying. I know this, because the majority of the math problems I was given, I know, I wouldn't have remembered prior to my hours of study.
So... where did all this studying get me? I got a 31. A score high enough not only to get me into the University of Minnesota, but I also gained entrance into the university's honors program.
Even if your grades in high school were poor or mediocre, your ACT or SAT scores can make the difference. Many, whose high school grades were dismal, got entrance to the schools of their choice because they had high scores on their ACT or SAT. This is why it's important to study if you're eager to get into a particular school that requires a higher score.
I know this is a lot of anecdotal evidence, but what I'm essentially telling you is that you shouldn't believe what people tell you when they say you can't study for these tests. You can, and you should, if you want to do your very best.