Is studying for the SAT or ACT stressing you out? With the right study plan in place, you can improve your SAT or ACT score dramatically. The key is to establish a schedule for studying, then stick to it.
Quite possibly, the SAT is the most important test you’ll take before heading to college. Use this guide to help you establish a study schedule.
Steps to planning your schedule
Set a time frame: The best study schedule encompasses a period of four to eight weeks during which you will study at least five days a week.
Find time: Decide how much time you can devote to studying each day. You should study at least one hour, but preferably two to three hours, per day.
Make a plan: Write out a schedule for studying. Each day, focus on one area of the SAT. Be sure to schedule a break every hour. Each week, redo your schedule to include what you need to study the most.
Study: Ensure you have a quiet place to study that is free of distractions (no computer, phone, television, video games or loud music). If you need to, study at the library or another quiet location.
Practice tests: Take a timed practice exam at the end of each week. This allows you to refocus your schedule for the following week, and also tracks your progress.
Stick to the plan: It isn’t enough to just make a plan. Have someone remind you to study each day to keep you from procrastinating.
Here is a sample schedule for one week:
Study vocabulary for one hour. Take a practice exam. Go over the answers to the practice test. Focus on the wrong answers and learn why they are wrong.
Study geometry rules for one hour. Practice by doing 30 to 40 practice questions in two different sections of previously released SATs. Review your answers.
Do three long reading passages from a practice SAT. Work on grammar skills by studying questions from a practice exam.
Complete four sections of the math test on a practice SAT. Study the areas where you got the most answers wrong.
Take a full, timed practice test.
Review your practice test and take notes on any missed problems.
Take the day off and relax. You deserve it.
When the week is finished, re-work your schedule for the next week based on your practice test results. Change your schedule to work on the section in which you had the most difficulty.
Ross Blankenship is an admissions analyst and admissions counselor. He is also an author and co-founder of Miro Advantage and TopTestPrep.com, test prep and admissions.