Test Prep

Time Management Tips for Students Taking the ACT or SAT This Summer

Adobe Stock

If you're signed up to take the SAT or ACT during your summer break, you'll need to find a way to squeeze some test prep into your time off. Don't worry, we've got some tips to help you plan out your study sessions so you still have plenty of time for everything else you hope to accomplish over break.

Consider A Test Prep Boot Camp

During summer, it takes a lot of self-motivation to make yourself sit down for a few hours and study for the SAT or ACT. If you'd rather have someone else motivate you, then you might want to sign up for a test prep boot camp. It's just what it sounds like – a super intensive daily program that encourages you and a group of your peers to work on your SAT or ACT skills with the goal of raising your official score. You can opt for a daytime or residential camp, and programs vary anywhere from one to four weeks long.

Learn How to Deal With the Math

Feeling good about the upcoming SAT or ACT, except for the Math section? Those slow summer days are a good time to finally get down to business and figure out how to tackle those questions. Working through practice questions is always smart, as is knowing how to use your brand new calculator before you get to the testing center. But be sure to check out these tips and tricks to help you bubble your way through the math section with greater confidence.

Work on Your Essay Skills

Some colleges require you to take the essay portion of the SAT or ACT. If writing isn't one of your strong points, then you have the long stretch of summer to study the art of the essay. Take a look at sample essays and use sample prompts online to practice your pacing. Remember that you will need to brainstorm, outline, write and proofread your essay in 40 minutes (ACT) or 50 minutes (SAT).

Read More

Will you be doing some traveling this summer? Before you head out on that road trip or flight, be sure to pack a book or two with you. The more you read books that are on your school's or college's recommended reading list, the better prepared you will be to zoom through the reading passages and vocab questions on the SAT or ACT. And don't forget that a good writer is a good reader, so frequent reading will also help improve your essay writing skills for the writing portion of the SAT or ACT.

Figure out Your Test-Taking Strategy

Standardized tests like the SAT and ACT aren't just about gauging your Math and English skills – these tests are also about how you well you can take a multiple-choice test. You need to pace yourself well, be familiar with the flow of the questions and sections, and also know how to guess when you have no idea what the answer is. Brush up on your test-taking skills here. If you happen to be freaking out about the ACT Science section, don't worry – this section will test you more on your reading skills and ability to interpret charts and graphs. This is a section that will definitely be easier if you have a plan of action in place.

Take Practice Tests

Since you do have so much free time in the summer, there's really no excuse to avoid taking a full-length practice test. If you haven't taken one yet, you should do so just to figure out which skills you need to sharpen before the test date rolls around. But practice tests are also necessary so you understand the mental and physical experience of sitting and concentrating for more than three hours. When you take a practice test, try to simulate the actual testing room situation as much as possible – take it in the morning and sit at an empty desk in a quiet room without distractions.

Create A Study Group

You probably have some friends who also need to study for a summer test date. Join together once or twice a week for a few regular study sessions so you can motivate each other to study.