As the second semester of school is rapidly rolling in, so is testing season. In early March, Juniors will take the SAT (for free!) along with the ACT and SAT subject tests being available on certain dates. There are various resources offered online and by the school to prepare students for both the SAT and ACT. Preparing for the SAT/ACT doesn’t have to be as costly as one might think. In the school library, multiple SAT/ACT preparation books are offered that students can check out for free. Not to mention, there are many websites that offer free practice tests, strategies, and explanations. Some excellent SAT/ACT practice websites include:
Along with taking practice tests, there are also other ways to prepare for the SAT/ACT. Studying for big tests can be stressful, so you want to make sure you stay organized and diligent with your work. Here are three important tips for staying on top of your work and cracking the test:
Make a schedule
In order to stay organized while preparing for the test, you will need to set aside specific times for studying. Plan out a schedule in advance so you aren’t stuck cramming for the test the night before. Khan Academy offers a great schedule guide that fits with your personal schedule. Doing a little bit of studying each day allows you to spend more quality time with each type of problem and understand the material better.
Set goals for yourself
After you become familiar with the content in the test, set a goal score for yourself. If you don’t have an idea of a score you want, look at your PSAT scores and average test scores of colleges you would like to attend. This will motivate you to study more.
0-30 point improvement: 10 hours
30-70 point improvement: 20 hours
70-130 point improvement: 40 hours
130-200 point improvement: 80 hours
200-330 point improvement: 150+ hours
Identify your weaknesses
In order to improve, you need to understand your weaknesses. Don’t waste time studying material you have already mastered and instead focus on what you don’t know. This doesn’t mean completely neglect areas you have mastered, but do not focus all of your energy in these areas. When you take practice tests, you will be able to see the questions you got wrong and why. Use this tool as a resource for improvement.
Madalyn Shelt, a Junior at Heights, is currently preparing for both the SAT and ACT. She is using her time wisely to prepare for the test and get the best score possible. “It is hard and time-consuming now, but I know it will all be worth it in the end!” The SAT/ACT doesn’t have to be stressful or overly demanding. Following these tips and planning your study time out will be sure to help you do your best in March!