As one of the world’s worst test takers, the SAT and ACT were my living nightmares. I dreaded studying for them, taking them, and even hearing their names made me sick to my stomach. But after taking at least five real standardized tests – among countless practice ones – I have acquired many tips and tricks to ace the SAT and ACT.
1. Try A Class
Although a class is not for everyone, I think it is very helpful when studying for a standardized test because you have a set time to study, you learn the ways that the tests try and trick you (so you don’t fall into those traps), and any practice is good practice. A class will also direct you to what you should be studying in order to maximize your time and your scores.
2. Review Vocab
My mom and I would play a vocabulary game every night before bed, which really helped improve my writing/vocab sections and made studying much more enjoyable. The first night I learned ten new words and every night after we would review the old words, learn ten new ones and then go through the whole pile rapid fire to see who could remember the most words. Regardless of how you study, vocabulary is a very useful tool not only to ace standardizes tests, but also to use in your everyday life.
3. Hit the Books with a Friend
Just as playing the vocab game with my mom made studying boring words more fun, hitting the books with a friend is also a great way to prepare for the SAT and ACT. A friend can make studying more fun, more productive, and more beneficial as you can help each other learn and have study dates. Just make sure you are being productive and using your time wisely!
4. Study Every Day
Studying every day is one of the most important tips I can give. Even though practicing for your tests every day, and on the weekends, may seem tedious, it will keep you motivated and keep your head in the game. It’s easier, and more beneficial, to practice for an hour and a half each day then binge studying once a week. Your brain processes information better when you learn a little, sleep and then continue the next day, so make sure your studying is spaced evenly through the week.
5. Practice, Practice, Practice
As a terrible test taker, the ACT and SAT did not come easily, and I wish I had studied more then I did. That being said, one of the most helpful tools I found while preparing for any standardized test was to practice each test like you are taking it on your actual test day. Ask someone to time your essays, other sections, and breaks so you can get a feel for how long you actually have for each subject, how to pace yourself, and how to better prepare for game day. The more practice, the better and you’ll definitely see improvements in your scores as a result of your hard work!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jolie Blair is a rising senior at Emory University from Sun Valley, Idaho. She is double majoring in Theater Studies and Public Health and has a passion for the arts, writing, and traveling. She studied abroad for the 2016 fall semester in Rome, Italy and had an experience of a lifetime, which she loves to share with those who want to listen (and even those who don’t like her 140lb Great Dane!).
Boston College PrepPre-College in Boston: College Prep, Marketing and Journalism Academy