3 Ways to Strengthen Your ACT, SAT Time Management Skills

It goes without saying that time management is a crucial skill on any timed assessment. This is especially true of the ACT and SAT, the two college admissions exams that require students to move quickly through multiple sections. Consider, for instance, the ACT English test, which allows students to spend an average of just 36 seconds on each question.

While there are strategies for saving time on specific ACT and SAT question types, there are also exercises for sharpening your time management skills in general. Below are three end-of-summer activities that can help you develop time management skills for the ACT and SAT:

— The “How Long Is a Minute?” exercise.

— Brain-training apps.

— Socially distanced races with friends.

The ‘How Long Is a Minute?’ Exercise

Our sense of time can vary tremendously depending on our state of mind and how we view the activity we are currently engaged in. You can likely relate to the feeling of losing track of time when you are focused on doing something you love. In psychology, this is called “flow state.” On the other hand, you also likely know how time seems to drag when you are working on something you perceive as tedious.

[Read: ACT vs. SAT: How to Decide Which Test to Take.]

The “How Long Is a Minute?” exercise can help you get a better handle on measuring time. With this activity, after pressing the start button, press the go”button, wait without counting for what you think is a minute to pass and then press the stop button. The tool will indicate how much time has actually passed, and you will be able to try again as many times as you like.

You may be surprised to learn just how off your internal clock is — a sign that your timing skills need some attention before test day.

Brain-Training Apps

So-called brain-training apps — like Elevate and Peak — can help you acclimate to working under the pressure of timed standardized tests. These apps, whose basic versions can be accessed for free, require users to solve a variety of problems or puzzles in a limited time.

In addition to tracking player speed, brain-training apps are designed to assess and sharpen areas like memory and reading comprehension — elements that can serve you well on the ACT or SAT.

[Read: How to Prep for SAT, ACT Amid the Coronavirus Outbreak.]

Brain-training apps are both educational and entertaining, which explains their popularity. What’s more, their accessibility makes them a convenient way to practice time management, among other skills, whenever and wherever the opportunity arises.

However, it should be noted that whether such apps are effective at boosting core cognitive functions is highly debatable. What these apps can certainly do is train you to work faster than you might otherwise have done. The bonus is that you may also improve in other areas, like vocabulary, that correlate with higher scores on college admissions tests.

Socially Distanced Races With Friends

Another fun way to train yourself to work well under pressure is by completing complex academic races with friends. These races, which should always observe coronavirus safety precautions, can take various forms.

[Read: How Long the SAT Is and How to Manage That Time.]

One option is to design a race with your friends. Select specific tasks you would all benefit from practicing. The race could entail answering as many ACT or SAT questions as possible in a given time, or it could involve solving a series of riddles, Sudoku puzzles or other brainteasers.

Understand that time management is just one of several skills that lead to success on the ACT and SAT. In addition to possessing the relevant skills for the test, ACT and SAT test-takers must master exam content, which is accomplished through careful study and practice. These three time management activities should be used in conjunction with, not as a replacement for, traditional test prep endeavors.

More from U.S. News

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3 Ways to Strengthen Your ACT, SAT Time Management Skills originally appeared on usnews.com

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