It is that time of year again. The school year is winding down and summer is on the horizon. Final exams and papers are being written, year-end school trips are being taken, and summer plans are being solidified. In my blog post about developing a SAT/ACT test-prep plan, I recommended that high school sophomores and juniors use their summer to prep for the SAT or ACT. Between academics and extra-curriculars the school year can get extremely hectic. The summer presents an opportunity to get ahead in your test-prep. Below are my tips for studying effectively during the summer.
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Establish a goal
Work with your college counselor and parents to think about your test-prep goals. The purpose of this goal is to keep you motivated as you study. Your goal can be to get a specific score, dedicate a certain amount of time to studying every week, or simply complete all of your test preparation by a certain date. You can use your existing college list to inform your goal. Be realistic and pay attention to the score ranges for admitted students at your target schools.
Decide on a test-prep method
Once you have a goal in mind, decide which test-prep method will allow you to achieve that goal. There are a variety of options available, each with their own pros and cons. You can study online, take a group prep class, or study with a private tutor. Choose the method that you feel is right for you and achieving your goal.
Set a study schedule
A crucial part of studying effectively involves more than just the content you will be studying. Setting a study schedule ensures that you maintain a healthy balance between studying, your social life, and sleep. Study in 30-60 minute chunks, to ensure that you have time to absorb the material you are reviewing.
Think about when you learn best and try to study at the same time everyday. If you’re a morning person, it might make sense to wake up early and study. If you are more alert at night or after a workout, factor those things into the study schedule you design for yourself. Making your studying a habit will help you stick to the schedule.
Decide where to study
For those who choose to study on their own, a factor that is as important as how you study is where you study. When thinking about the best study spot, try to find an area that is well lit, comfortable, quiet, and presents minimal distractions. Some places that might serve as a study area are a home office, your local library, or a quiet bookstore or coffee shop.
Have an accountability partner
Once you have established your goals, decided on a test-prep method, and set your study schedule choose one person who will be your accountability partner. An accountability partner can be a parent, teacher, sibling or a responsible friend. This person will help you celebrate your successes and get back on track when you start to deviate from your original test-prep plan.
Finally it is your summer break. Remember to set aside time to relax and spend quality time with your family and friends. Giving yourself study breaks and fun activities to look forward to can help you remain focused in your studying.
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Image source: Huffington Post