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Make a Test Prep Study Schedule


Standardized Test Prep MS/HS/College Strategy

Make a Test Prep Study Schedule

All students who are preparing for the ACT or SAT

Have A Detailed Plan

  1. Doing well on the test is not just about what you know. It's as much about good preparation and setting yourself up for success.
  2. Create a written timeline and study plan, either on a calendar or monthly planner, so you have enough time to prepare.
  3. Work backwards from the number of days you have until the test. Know your target score and have a sense of how much time it will take to practice for it.
  4. Expect to add in extra study time in the days or weeks immediately before the test. Be realistic about which days you will study and for how long. Take into account your other commitments.
  5. Include long blocks of hours to take a full practice test to build your stamina.
  6. Have a plan for each section. Reserve time for the sections you might enjoy the least or need most practice. This will help you avoid the natural tendency to study what you enjoy first and not leave time for harder areas. Include specifics such as which math topics you will study on which days. Stick to your plan. Add to your plan as you discover new things you need to learn.
  7. Be sure your plan includes time for repetition. Once you learn something, you will need to practice it several times.
  8. Keep the plan in a place where you can easily see it. Check off as you complete the days and tasks. Remember to update your plan as your studying evolves. You might need to shift focus on specific sections or content area.

One Week Prior

  1. Visit the test site in advance. Know how to get there (whether it's you or someone else driving), where to park, and which door to use. If you are given a choice of rooms, know which one you would prefer but be prepared if you do not get your choice.
  2. Prepare and pack everything you need for test day at least 2 days in advance: snack, water, sharpened #2 pencils, timer, eraser, calculator, tissues etc. Pack extras in case something goes wrong. Organize everything so you know exactly where to find it.
  3. Decide the night before what you will wear on test day, based on the weather. Make sure you are wearing comfortable clothing. Dress in layers in case the room is hot or cold.
  4. Be realistic about what could go wrong on test day, and mentally prepare how you will handle the situation. How will you react if someone else is coughing or disturbing you? What if your seat is uncomfortable? Having a plan for how you will handle a tough situation will help you stay calm and make the best of the situation.

Test Day

  1. Choose a seat with few potential distractions if you can. Away from the window? Near the front by the proctor? Away from friends? Think through your preferences if you are given the option.
  2. When you sit down, organize everything you need for the test so it is easily accessible. You don't want to be rummaging around for extra pencils once the test starts or during a break.
  3. Go to the bathroom before the test begins.
  4. It's probably best to avoid conversations with friends. They are more likely to amp you up, rather than calm your nerves. Consider walking in with your earbuds in if you think you might know a lot of people.
  5. Keep a positive mindset that this will be your best day. The anxiety you feel will help you work faster and do better. The more positive you are the better you will do.
  6. Once the test begins, you can write down anything you want. Write down any key formulas, facts or mnemonics on your booklet so you do not have to worry about remembering them on the spot.

Why It Works (the Science Of Learning)!

Planning for and taking several concrete steps when you get to your testing location can optimize performance, helping students feel organized and confident that they are ready to tackle the test.