How to Study for the SAT or ACT

How to Study for the SAT or ACT

Taking the SAT or ACT will help you get into good colleges, based on your score. And for that, you need to prepare well for both. This Buzzle write-up provides some tips for studying for these tests.
You are asked for your SAT or ACT scores when you apply to colleges. Needless to say, you need to score well if you want to attend a good and reputed college or university. Preparation for these test require time, efforts, and lots of practice. There is plenty of information available on the Internet today, but if you want that high score, you've got to study. There's no shortcut to success.

If you plan to take these test and are anxious, confused, and unsure about your preparation, fret not! Just calm down and start preparing for these test at least 6-8 weeks before the exam date. We will tell you how to prepare for these tests in the sections given below.

Preparing for the SAT or ACT

Plan your study
As mentioned earlier, you will need at least 6-8 weeks of preparation time. You know your weaknesses well. Therefore, it is better to master them first. However, do not invest too much time try to master them as you might loose out on preparing for those topics that you know well. Prepare a daily schedule and set a target to keep yourself motivated and focused. Keep your study sessions short, and refresh yourself before the next study session. This is the most efficient way of studying. If you think you won't be able to prepare all by yourself, then consider taking help from your seniors or friends.

Take a mock test before you begin studying
Taking a mock test will prove really helpful to assess your strengths and weaknesses. You will know which topics need more preparation and those you can study quickly. They are available on the Internet as well as on tutoring programs. They offer free and immediate analysis of your test. This will give you an idea on what all you need to prepare for.

Read books and obtain study material
There are numerous books that provide tips, tricks, study guides, and practice problems. You can either buy one or borrow it from your local library. You can also check out Amazon or Barnes and Noble's websites for the books as well. The ACT for Dummies and The SAT for Dummies are highly informative and provide a lot of tips and tricks to crack the exam. However, mostly refer to the official SAT and ACT books. Also, you can ask for the study material of your seniors or friends who have previously appeared for these exams.

Know your test well beforehand
Yes! Make sure you know all the rules and regulations well while preparing itself. You shouldn't have to waste even a second on reading the rules again and again. Whichever exam you appear for, know the rules of each section. This will save time which you may need in solving some tough questions.

Review basic algebra
If you're not a math person, review the basic algebra problems. Many ACT and SAT books have a number of equations that you need to know. They will come handy while solving problems. Geometry is another area you may want to focus on as well. Go through the sample tests papers to get an idea of the kind of questions that are asked.

Review English grammar
Reviewing your basic grammar rules will help you immensely to crack the English section, especially if English isn't your strong point. English grammar is a vast subject though, so which rules should you focus on? Again, here, the recommended ACT or SAT books come in handy. They'll often list important rules you need to remember for the test. Also, work on your vocabulary, and try to learn as many new words as possible.

Take mock tests
This is probably the most important piece of advice for acing these tests. Take as many mock tests as you can. Start taking them at least 10 days before your exam. If you take mock tests beforehand, your score will improve substantially. You will know how the test works, what sort of problems you'll encounter, and you'll learn how to pace yourself.

Master the art of time management
Taking mock tests will not only help you in scoring well, but also give you an idea of how much time you take for solving all the questions. Many students often make a mistake of spending a majority of their time just preparing and forget that they have to complete the test within the stipulated time. How much ever well prepared you may be, if you don't keep an eye on your speed, you won't be able to complete the test on time, which obviously will affect your score. If you start timing yourself at home while taking mock tests, you will not have to worry about time while appearing for the actual test

Other tips
  • Along with the above tips, you also need to keep a check on your diet. Make sure you eat a well-balanced and high-protein meal before you head for the test.
  • And also ensure that you get a good night's sleep. Don't burn the midnight oil the previous night, you may feel the after-effects the next day (test day).
  • Make sure you carry all the things with you need on the exam day. Keep them in your bag the previous night before your test.
  • Don't make random guesses if you are giving the SAT because you will be deducted a quarter of a point for wrong answers. Make a guess only when you are able to eliminate 2-3 options of the 5. However, in the ACT you do not loose points for unanswered questions or wrong answers.
  • In the end, be confident and believe in yourself.

So, these were some useful tips for preparing for the SAT or ACT exams that will help you crack them. Don't let the exam stress get to you and prepare for the exams thoroughly.
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