If you’re just beginning to embark on the test preparation journey, it’s safe to say that you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed. The test prep process is one that can be stressful. After all, standardized tests like the SAT and ACT, whether we like it or not, are extremely important—they help determine where one is accepted into college. And, it’s no secret that where one goes to college can certainly influence his or her future. Below are a few tips for staying on top of your SAT test preparation. It is students, themselves, who are largely in control of creating a plan for test-prep success…and sticking to it.
- Make a Schedule: Set goals for yourself. Assign a certain amount of time each day to working on test prep, whether you’re taking the SAT or ACT (or any standardized test, for that matter). Make a plan with your tutor outlining what you hope to accomplish, or resolve to study from your review book for thirty minutes a night. A commitment and a little review per day can go a long way.
- Study Vocabulary: If you’ve got plenty of time before you take the SAT and/or ACT, and are wondering what you can do to start preparing for your college entrance exams, the answer is STUDY YOUR SAT VOCABULARY! Vocabulary is an essential part of test prep success, and a manageable way to get a head a head start in your SAT preparation. Essentially, you can start learning it at any age. Study a little vocab a day; knowing you SAT vocabulary will mean higher scores on your verbal sections.
- Take Practice Tests: This is often, far and away, the best form of review. Take as many SAT and ACT practice exams as you can! Come to know what to expect when it comes to the format, question types, and your time management skills. The more comfortable you are with the test, the more comfortable you will be on the big day.
- Read: There are lots of wonderful reasons for reading, but if you didn’t know, it can be extremely useful when you’re preparing for your college entrance exams. Pick up the newspaper or go take out a book from the library. Have a dictionary on hand to look up any words you come across that you don’t know (we can’t emphasize enough how crucial SAT vocabulary is!). You’ll be reading about subjects you’re not necessarily familiar with on the SAT and ACT, so get some practice. Make sure that you’re able to grasp the reading passages’ key content.
- Prepare Essay Examples: It’s a good idea to use past SAT essay prompts to practice writing the essay. But there is a step you should take before sitting down to practice writing your SAT essay: Prepare your examples! Come up with a handful of essay examples and stories that you can work into nearly any SAT essay topic. Having some well-rehearsed examples to apply to your SAT essay will save you precious time on the test and likely help earn you a higher score.
What good is a SAT study plan if you’re not going to stick to it? Make sure you stick to your test-prep study schedule! Study some vocabulary every day; do a practice SAT or ACT section a few times a week; be sure to show some commitment. This is important; it will undoubtedly pay off when you’re mailbox is filled with college acceptance letters!