Two students reviewing homework in library

Five tips to effective SAT/ACT studying

You’ve got your flashcards, highlighters, and stopwatch app ready — but did you know there are other ways to maximize your SAT/ACT study time? Use these five tips to help you prep, so you can walk into test day with confidence.

Choose a study buddy

Finding a study buddy can help keep you motivated, help you commit time to the task, and even make the learning more fun. But when you’re selecting a partner, remember that a best friend may not be the best choice if they are too much of a distraction. Seek out students with the same study goals so you can challenge each other academically and stay focused.

Set goals for studying and scores

Goal setting can be a great way to get, and stay, motivated. Try combining short term (e.g., “I will study one hour each day until my next practice test”) and long-term goals (e.g., “I want to get a 1,400 on the new SAT”) so you can feel great about what you achieve each day and look forward to a major accomplishment at the end.

Use practice exams

When researchers from Kent University decided to take a critical look at ten different types of common study methods, they found only two of them to be extremely effective: practice exams and studying evenly over the course of the semester.

Start by taking a practice test to see exactly where you’re strong and where you have room to improve. Then you can alternate studying with occasional practice tests. The practice tests will give you a sense of how effective your studying is, and help you get more comfortable with the content and phrasing of the test.

Review before you go to bed

If you’re studying a little each day, consider reviewing what you’ve learned before you go to sleep each night. It’s been shown that when students encounter new information before they go to sleep, their minds process and retain it better than if they learn it earlier in the day. So run through those flashcards once more before you drift off.

Put your phone away

For as much buzz as multitasking gets, is it useful? Actually, no. Studies have shown that the concept of multitasking is inefficient because when we switch between tasks, we tend to do all of them more poorly. Technological distractions like Facebook alerts, texts, and emails can greatly impact your ability to focus and retain information — so use your time wisely. Set a goal time where you work purely on the study task at hand, whether it’s 30 minutes, an hour, or more, and put your phone in a drawer.

Dana Fulton
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Dana Fulton

Social Media Content Manager at Wells Fargo
Creative professional with years of sales and marketing experience, specializing in segment-specific strategy and customer-centric communications. Skills include problem solving, collaboration, critical thinking, and clarifying the complex.
Dana Fulton
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