For several students entering their junior year of high school, one of the most taxing parts of preparing to apply to university and college is taking the ACT and SAT, one of which is suggested for application to the huge majority of four-year universities and colleges. At this point, students are inundated with so many various exam-taking methods, strategies and services that it can be quite challenging to sift through them all.
One of the most vital things for students to do in preparing to take ACT and the SAT is to map out accurately when they will take the exam and how they will study for it. There are some tips for designing such a timeline.
- Sign up for an exam date far in advance: The ACT is offered six times per year nationally; the SAT is offered seven. Once you decide which exam you will be taking, the first things you require to do is look at the upcoming exam timetable and choose on a date to take it.
Once you pick a date, ensure that you avoid all probable conflicts in the time instantly preceding it. Do not let things that you can manage interfere with your preparation during that period?
- Plan to take the exam more than once: While it would be great if you could achieve your target score the very first time you take the exam, you will most likely have to take it once and twice more in order to attain the score you want.
Enhancement comes naturally through repetition. No matter how many practice exams you take, it is hard to simulate exam day conditions before actually experiencing what it’s like to be sitting in that exam-taking room.
Scheduling your timeline around the assumption that you will require to take the exam multiple times also allows you the flexibility to slip up slightly while still having the fallback choice of later exam dates.
- Take the exam early: On a similar note, it will be impossible to take the ACT and SAT many times prior to applying to colleges if the first time you take it is late in the fall of your senior year.
Even if you look at the upcoming test dates and are not sure you will be 100 percent prepared by the midpoint of your junior year, you will take that first crack at it if you feel you have a reasonable amount of time to prepare.
With ample of time left in your junior year, you leave yourself plenty time to take the exam once or twice more. As an added bonus, you will find yourself completely done with your test-taking early if you end up scoring better than you expected the first time.
- Pace yourself: Once you have committed to an exam date and particular studying plan, be careful not to burn out too early in your preparation. While you may be tempted to start into your preparation book at full bore from the start, too much prep too early can be counterproductive.
Take it easy those first few weeks, perhaps just by simply reviewing ideas and trying handfuls of practice problems at a time. This way, you can slowly get the hang of things before breaking out the big guns – e.g., sample exam portions and full-length sample exams – much later, ideally during the week and two before you take the exam.
Blocking out a plan beforehand will very much alleviate stress by ensuring that you always know your next step.
- Simulate testing conditions: Reserve the last week in your studying timetable for taking a full sample test, and make sure to simulate exam day conditions as much as possible.
Stick to the allotted time for each exam portion and take short breaks between parts as you will be instructed to do on exam day. You should even carry a small bag of snacks to eat during lunch, as you will be allowed when you take the test.
The closer you can get to feeling accurately what it is like to take the exam, the less stressful the real experience will be. You can get some sample exam on various sites like Expertsmind. Go there and practice for your exam.