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Ready, Set, Take the Test!

Students are getting ready to embark on a very busy testing season. The next SAT dates are coming up in May and early June, and the ACT is following just after. Below are some tips for success during the summer study period:


Focus on your weaknesses and not your strengths. It is human nature to want to do the things we do well. But this is not an effective test prep strategy. The first thing you need to do is assess the content or style of question that is causing you the most trouble. Once you have done that, spend most of your study time focusing on these. 


Don’t just read and reread — answer questions. Often, students say they plan to keep rereading chapters until test day arrives. But this is a totally ineffective way to prepare. Most tests are not dependent on your just memorizing content, but rather on applying that knowledge. The best thing you can do is answer as many questions as possible. As you go through these questions, note those things that you want to review and then spend your time focusing on just those. With limited time, it is not reasonable to assume that you have time to relearn everything. 


Be organized. You may be tempted to check off other things on your to-do list, but re-prioritize based on which tests will be first and which you are least prepared for. 


Mimic your testing environment. Studies have shown that studying in situations similar to the real testing environment can have a positive effect on your performance. Sit at a desk or table. Turn off all distractions including your computer, music, TV, and phone. Try to time yourself as well so that you can begin to pace yourself like you will on the real exam.


Don’t do it alone. You are not in this alone. Rely on your friends to help you study. Create study groups. And during this time, it is important to talk to your parents about what will help you the most. 


Make time to relax. Find time to do the things you love. These little breaks will allow you to return to studying more focused and energized. The key is just to limit the time on these activities.


Right now, you probably feel like you are running a race, but it is going to be over quickly. Don’t forget that every test is just one test and not a measure of your entire life’s work. Just focus on the material, get through it, and then congratulate yourself for all your hard work! And remember, Insight is always here to help you with Test Prep Classes and Boot Camps scheduled throughout the summer. Check out our summer schedules on our website here.

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