By Frances Kweller, Education and Testing Standards Expert and Founder of Kweller Prep
Preparing for the SAT’s takes time and effort, but with summer vacation around the corner, there is plenty of time to take advantage of and use wisely. Here are five ways you can prepare for the SAT’s during your summer vacation:
1. Maintain a Study Schedule
School’s out, but that doesn’t mean you should spend all your days sleeping in. Of course, you should catch up on rest and extend your usual bedtime a bit to make time for summer festivities but don’t throw away valuable study time! Try to set a reasonable study schedule for yourself to make the most of the daylight hours. 1-2 hours a day of dedicated study time will help you stay focused and keep the material fresh in your mind. Having structure in your daily life is an important part of achieving your goals and an easy way to implement this is to schedule your study time.
2. Set Quantitative Goals
Before you begin your summer of study, do your research. Identify the colleges you plan to apply to and consider the statistics of their student body’s scores. Then, take a benchmark exam under test-taking conditions––no phone, no television, just the exam in a quiet and timed environment. Score your exam and write that score down. Compare where you are currently with what you want to achieve. Then, make a SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound) goal and plan your study content accordingly. Identify where you need to improve, which will help you structure an efficient program for attacking those sections and therefore increasing your score. For example: “I will increase my math score by XXX points over the next 4 weeks by taking two no-calculator math sections in addition to my weekly benchmark exam for the next 3 weeks.” Your goal will help keep you accountable and if your time constraint passes and you have not yet achieved your goal you can tweak it and adjust as you see fit.
3. Study on the Go
Just because you’re on a mission doesn’t mean you can’t have fun! Instead of
ditching your study plans for fun in the sun, take your books with you! You can easily pack up your flashcards, books and practice materials and take them with you! When you’re traveling you can utilize the idle time spent in the car or on a plane reviewing materials and concepts or going over exams you’ve already taken in order to identify what topics you need to brush up on. To make taking your things on the go easier, keep a backpack with extra materials and utensils ready to go so there’s no excuse not to do so!
4. Sign up for the SAT Exam
Depending on your school year and goals, you might be preparing to take the SAT exam at the end of the summer or when you go back to school. Visit the CollegeBoard website and check out upcoming exam dates. It’s best to get your ticket ahead of time so you can take the test in your preferred location and mentally prepare for the time leading up to exam day. Something as simple as booking your test date can really put your mind at ease and even motivate you to push through and finish what you’ve started!
5. Join an SAT or ACT Prep Course
Studying in a group setting can enhance the learning experience and help you stay on track. Prep courses only last a few hours each day and can hold you accountable to maintaining a study routine while still leaving plenty of time to enjoy the sun and other activities. A simple time investment of 3-4 hours each day can really propel your scores to reach the next level. While it may be tempting to accomplish this feat alone, being around a study group all summer will help motivate you to stay on task.
Summer doesn’t last forever, that’s true, but neither does the opportunity to prepare for exams that have the potential to better your future. Utilizing time wisely can make all the difference between where you are now and where you want to spend your four undergraduate years. Putting in hard work now will lead you to success in the future.