How to study for the SAT and ACT more effectively

With the registration deadlines for the SAT and ACT college admissions exams approaching rapidly, many high school seniors are beginning to feel the pressure. Although it's important to study for the actual content of the tests, it's equally important to be prepared for the exams themselves. Follow these study tips to tackle your college admissions exams with more confidence.

Plan ahead: A lot of students feel stressed because registration deadlines take them by surprise. Get a calendar and make a note of the deadlines. If you want to take the next SAT test on May 5, you need to submit registration paperwork by the close of regular registration on April 6, or April 20 if you're submitting your application late. The next ACT exam date is April 14, so you'll need to send in your registration form by March 9.

Establish a baseline score: A baseline score is your SAT or ACT test result with no studying time. Pick up a study book and take the sample exam without studying. This will give you your baseline score. As well as providing you with a better idea of how much of the material you know, establishing your baseline score will also help you identify the areas you're not so strong in.

Work smarter, not harder: Once you've figured out which areas you're good at, you can spend more time studying for questions you found difficult when you took your baseline practice test. Again, preparation and planning will make studying easier and more effective, so keep a calendar of when you plan on studying, and what you'll be covering. Not only will this make it easier to keep to a schedule, it can provide you with a sense of accomplishment, which can boost confidence. Don't forget to pencil in time to take additional practice tests to see how you're improving.

Approach the questions logically: For multiple choice questions, use the process of elimination. Figure out which options are incorrect before answering. Be careful and thorough – you are penalized a quarter of a point for wrong answers on the SAT. If you have any time left at the end of the test, go back and review your answers for mistakes. Although you should focus on answering the questions, try to allocate a roughly equal amount of time to each one so you don't fall behind or feel rushed toward the end of the test.

Above all, stay calm, plan ahead and good luck!


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