Now that students are settled into the school year and the tutoring routine, I am getting lots of questions from parents about how their children should be studying at home. Preparing for the SAT and ACT is different than preparing for school exams; therefore, students need to be ready to try new methods. However, your child may find that some of the study habits below will help with school work too!
1. NO CRAMMING
You are preparing for a marathon, not a sprint! Test prep is a long process, involving lots of practice spread over a period of time. Remember, slow and steady wins the race!
2. QUIET PLACE
Study and take practice tests in a test-like environment. If there are too many distractions at home, go to the library.
3. LITTLE BITES
Build as if you are planning on running a marathon. Start with completing one or two sections at a time. Then, slowly add on more sections. However, the week before the exam you should NOT complete a full exam. Like a marathoner, you need to rest up before the big day!
4. ACTIVE VS. PASSIVE LEARNER
Become an active learner. Constantly evaluate how you are doing. Use your errors as learning opportunities. Note patterns. If inference questions are hard for you, focus on these. Do extra drills when you need more practice.
5. ESTABLISH A GOAL
Set realistic goals for yourself. If math is weak, don’t expect to get all the math questions correct. Maybe aim to get most of the easy and medium math questions correct on test day.
6. ESTABLISH A ROUTINE
Follow the same routine each time you study: allot a specific time to practice (perhaps 10-12:00 on Sunday). Shut off music, TV and put away your phone. Establish a study plan. For example, create and study vocabulary flashcards for the first 15 minutes (if taking the SAT)…complete 2 sections of an exam…review and analyze mistakes for 15 minutes. End with outlining an essay.
7. SCHEDULE STUDY BREAKS
Study breaks are an important part of your test prep routine. Stretch your legs, or eat a snack. Build in study breaks into Study Habit #6.
8. EAT WELL
Strive to eat a balanced, healthy diet. During the week before the test, eat more protein, limit sugar, and consume lots of water for maximum alertness.
9. BE IN CONTROL
Don’t just do one test after another. Add drills to your regimen, and practice all of the different strategies. Completing one section after the next without utilizing strategies is a waste of your time.
10. GET IN THE ZONE
Practice intense drills. Focus on grammar in one session, completing as many grammar questions as you can within one hour. Then, in another study session, move on to reading passages, completing just one type of reading within one sitting. Continue this drilling with other sections of the test.