For high school juniors and seniors who intend to take the ACT or SAT in the fall, the summer months are an ideal time for review. But this time is not without unique challenges — challenges often driven by reduced motivation or less access to study resources.
If you plan to prep this summer, use these four tips, all of which provide solutions to the most common challenges surrounding summertime test prep:
— Adhere to a schedule.
— Take your studies with you.
— Join online test prep forums.
— Keep each other motivated.
Adhere to a Schedule
The summer is bound to fly by if you do not effectively manage your time. When you are not enrolled in classes, it may feel like you have all the time in the world, which can lull you into a false sense of security.
To give your review some structure and make the most of this academic recess, create a personalized test prep schedule that targets your weakest areas. While the scheduling possibilities are virtually endless, a feasible routine may involve three or four study sessions a week with each session lasting for at least an hour. Another option is to study every day for at least 30 minutes.
Here’s a related tip: Rather than just saving your schedule on your computer, cellphone or the cloud where it can be easily changed or disregarded altogether, print it out and post it in places where you will see it regularly as a reminder of your duties.
Take Your Studies With You
ACT and SAT study materials tend to be portable. This means that you need not confine yourself to the indoors as you engage in test prep this summer. Take your books, flashcards and other resources to the beach, the park or another outdoor location so you can enjoy the warm and sunny weather while learning something valuable.
You can even invite your classmates and friends along if they wish to prepare for an upcoming exam. Social studying can heighten both your morale and your accountability, often making review sessions more productive than they would be otherwise.
In addition, studying in a group is conducive to several different learning styles. For example, auditory learners can capitalize on listening to others’ explanations. Kinesthetic learners also stand to gain, as group work may make it easier to incorporate study games that require movement.
It’s worth mentioning that you can prepare for the ACT and SAT without using material specifically designed for this purpose.
For instance, crossword puzzles are a fantastic resource for broadening your vocabulary, which is an essential skill on the reading section of either assessment. Doing sudoku puzzles can improve your ability to perform arithmetic mentally, another activity that will benefit you on the ACT or SAT when using a calculator would lead to lost time or careless mistakes.
Join Online Test Prep Forums
Because summer is generally a time for relaxation and vacation, the months of June, July and August can mean reduced access to study supports such as teachers. If you reach out with questions to an educator during summer, you are not guaranteed to receive a prompt reply, and sometimes you may not hear back at all.
As such, you may wish to acquaint yourself with online test prep forums this summer such as College Confidential, where students — and sometimes experts — post questions and reply to one another. These websites are sure to become a valuable resource to you because you can easily browse previous threads and start your own. You’re likely to have better luck getting information from fellow test-takers than you are from teachers and other instructors who prefer to unplug over the summer.
Keep Each Other Motivated
Staying focused is key during this time of year when there are so many enticing get-togethers, festivals and other activities going on that can strip you of the motivation to study. To keep momentum in your test prep endeavors this summer, consider forming a group with friends on social media or over text in which you can all ask ACT- and SAT-related questions, propose study meetups and motivate one another.
As is the case with social studying, being part of a study group increases feelings of accountability, which can also help keep you on track with test prep. To magnify this effect, regularly inquire with group members about their study progress and encourage them to do the same for you.
Continue full steam ahead with your test prep by trying out these solutions to the demotivating circumstances of summertime.
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