Studying for the SAT and ACT is tricky business, and quite often, students find themselves using ineffective study techniques. Below is a list of 5 things you shouldn't do as you prepare for the SAT/ACT.
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- Waiting Until the Last Minute
Getting comfortable with the ACT and SAT takes time, and waiting until the last minute just adds more anxiety to an already stressful situation. Give yourself a few months’ time to prepare. If the test date is approaching and you only have a few weeks left, then click here to download a free last minute SAT prep calendar. As a next step, make sure you register for the next available test date far in advance so you can prepare over a longer period of time.
- Skipping Particular Sections You’re Strong In
You might think that if you’re strong in one subject/topic, you are better off skipping that section during your test prep to save time. However, in addition to understanding the content, the ACT and SAT are also about how to be a good test taker. You might know how to answer a question correctly, but do you know how to answer it correctly in under 1 minute? So yes, if you know a topic well, you should spend less time on it - however ignoring it completely isn't a good idea either! Not sure which topics you're strong vs. weak in? Click here to take a free diagnostic test and instantly view your customized study plan.
- Relying on Memory Tricks
Memory tricks are all about memorizing associations and are often used as shortcuts to pass a test. These memory tricks can work in the short term, but they don’t actually help you to learn the material, and they are certainly not effective for the SAT and ACT. However, there are highly effective strategies that can be applied for these tests. Get 20 free SAT strategies that will improve your score here.
- Making Flashcards
Flashcards may be effective in helping you memorize definitions of words. Many students feel that spending time making flashcards is an effective way to study for SAT vocabulary because the action of writing down a word and definition can help in retention of the word itself. Truth? This is one of the biggest time wasters! The SAT doesn’t test your ability to regurgitate definitions. Instead, they test your ability to understand vocabulary in context (i.e. knowing how to use it in a sentence). Instead of wasting time making flashcards, spend time learning how to apply words in sentences. Watch this quick video to see how TestRocker’s vocabulary game helps you strengthen your vocab without being a complete bore!
- Taking Too Many Full-Length Tests
A full-length SAT or ACT will take you over 3 hours, plus grading and figuring out what you got wrong. Multiply that by however many practice tests you plan on taking, and that’s a whole lot of hours that could be better spent elsewhere. Significant score improvements come from learning the concepts being tested, not just from doing the same things over and over. Only once you have a solid understanding of the concepts should you start taking full-length practice tests so that you get used to the test format.