How To Study For The SAT And The ACT
Preparing for the SAT and the ACT can be brutal, but by following these four rules the process will be a little more bearable and, quite possibly, help get you a score that will put you in the perfect position to get into your dream school.
1. Math: Rules, Formulas & Your Calculator
Math is Math…numbers, facts, rules and formulas and if you don’t know them, you better study up now. Make sure to know area formulas, the Pythagorean Theorem, the average formula, special triangle rules, and exponent rules by heart, among others. Thankfully, you’re allowed to have a calculator during your test and it will become your best friend, especially when you’re pressed for time. Take the time to practice using your calculator…Type in tricky equations and practice enough so you become comfortable using shortcuts. Having those few precious extra moments to work on the more tricky questions or problems may make the difference in your score.
2. Write As Many Practice Essays As Possible
Writing an essay is a struggle for many to begin with but adding the element of a time restraint and it’s enough to send anyone into a tailspin. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be that way. Doing test-runs of your essay will help familiarize yourself with the structure and save you valuable time come test day. The SAT allows you 25 minutes to read your essay prompt, brainstorm your idea, write an outline, write the essay and then proofread it. The ACT will allow you 30 minutes. For your practice essay, decide on an unambiguous thesis, provide relevant examples to validate it, and then draw a conclusion reinstating your argument. After several practices, time yourself and double-check your grammar, spelling and punctuation. Just as important, your essay should demonstrate to the test graders your command of the English language.
3. Multiple-Choice Questions: How They Work To Your Advantage
The SAT and the ACT are both multiple-choice tests, with the exception of the essay and a handful of math grids. Some people think multiple-choice is easy, which isn’t necessarily true, but it does have some advantages. For example, on the Writing section of the SAT, by looking at the differences in the answer choices, you can often see what grammatical concept is being tested. On math problems, you can eliminate answer choices by plugging them back into the equation in the question. If you look at a question and realize you have absolutely no idea how to tackle it, don’t waste any more time on it! Each question is worth the same…You won’t be doing yourself any favors by wasting precious minutes sweating over one question, when you could move on to problems you can actually solve. However, if you can eliminate even one answer choice, it is in your best interest to take a guess. If you’ve narrowed an answer down to two choices, but know you won’t be able to figure out which one it is, don’t waste time freaking out and beating yourself up over it. Guess and move on!
4. Take Timed Practice Tests
There isn’t anything that can prepare you more for the SAT or the ACT than actually taking the test itself. Once you’ve decided which test you’ll be taking, schedule a time for yourself to sit down, kitchen timer in hand, and take a full-length practice test. Taking a timed test can be stressful and grueling so you don’t want test day to be the first time you’ve experienced it. By preparing yourself now, you’ll figure out how to pace yourself and you’ll become familiar with the various content areas of the test. Not only that but after you’ve evaluated your performance, you can then focus on the content areas where you performed the weakest. Knowing what to expect on test day will give you an edge that many of the other students won’t have, which will allow you to spend that extra time answering questions.
Finally, remember, when it comes to standardized tests, obviously the better you do the better off you’ll be. If your score isn’t where you’d like it to be, that’s okay. Parent 2 Parent College Network will help you overcome poor grades and scores and help you get into the school of your dreams!