The Big Test: Tips for SAT & ACT Preparation

Is your SAT or ACT testing date around the corner? Here is some advice I give to students who are preparing for the big day:

Focus on using your strengths versus fixing your weaknesses. There is not enough time to become a math whiz before your exam or to master critical reading skills that perhaps you have struggled with throughout school. And, I would argue, this is not the best use of your time. Research has shown that focusing on your strengths instead of your weaknesses is often more productive and results in greater success (here is a good Forbes article that explains this further). Honing in on those natural talents and applying them to the task at hand is the key to preparing for the parts of the test that make you the most nervous.

Student to Scholar has Strengths Sessions that will help you identify these skills and apply them to your college journey.

Actively prepare for the test environment. As with all things, knowledge is power. Having all the details and preparing for them ahead of time can make or break your exam performance. The College Board provides a nice overview of the SAT test day, as well as a test day checklist.

 Schedule your study time, and stick to it. Most college students I know have a lot going on, so simply saying that you will study for the SAT or ACT during “down time” usually doesn’t cut it. Grab your calendar or weekly planner and schedule study time like you would any other extra-curricular activity or big event.

A bonus tip on study time: people tend to lose concentration and productivity after more than 45 minutes, so try to avoid study periods that last longer than this.

Best of luck on the big day!

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