How to Build Your Spring Test Prep Schedule
January 5, 2017
Saying hello to the spring semester doesn’t just mean back-to-school festivities and the start of a new semester. Usually, high schools all around the country are encouraging their students to start applying for upcoming SAT and ACT test dates. This may seem intimidating at first, but with proper planning and an organized test prep schedule, nothing can stand in your way.
Here is a breakdown of how you can build your test prep schedule over the course of the spring semester in order to help you prepare for both of these tests.
Scheduling for the SAT
The SAT is a subject-focused test, and the best way to start studying is by focusing on one subject at a time. In short, there are three major portions on the SAT. (More details about the specific sections on the newly updated SAT and what each subject entails can be found here.)
Since you have about 2-3 months to study for the SAT from the start of the normal spring semester, it may help to focus on establishing a study schedule spanning 9-12 weeks.
For the first three weeks, focus on polishing your skills for the Reading & Writing portion. Whether you are using test prep books or online resources, practice reading various passages, and find comfort in easily noting important information while reading. For the second set of three weeks, focus on Mathematics. Practice your math skills and polish your knowledge of various formulas and mathematical concepts that are covered on the SAT. Remember to always think practical and to brush up on your knowledge when you are both right and wrong.
After studying hard, don’t be afraid to give yourself a week or so to take a much needed brain break. With anywhere from 2-5 weeks left, focus on preparing for the essay portion and spend the last few weeks reinforcing your most important skills and knowledge. Following this schedule will be sure to leave you on the path to success.
Scheduling for the ACT
Unlike the SAT, the ACT consists of five major testing sections. This leaves room for even more block scheduling and can limit your time spent studying if not planned right. But have no fear, this schedule will have you prepping like an ACT Prep ace in no time!
With about 9-12 weeks to study for the big test day, spending two weeks on each portion will help you study the best. Do keep in mind that the writing section is optional! Your writing skills are also something you can practice throughout the duration of your total study time. By doing this, you can add two weeks to your schedule and have anywhere from 1-4 weeks to review for the other test sections before test day.
Two-for-one: taking the SAT and ACT
Are you a test-taking mogul about to attack both tests in the same semester?! If so, no worries! If planned right, you can study for both tests at the same time. Don’t expect that it will be easy, but also don’t fret. Luckily for you, both tests do cover some similar material. On the ACT, there is an added Science and English Grammar section that can be easily covered by following this schedule.
For the first two weeks, study for the ACT Science Section. For the second two weeks, focus on the ACT Grammar section. By doing this, you have covered the two sections exclusive to the ACT.
After studying for these sections, you can then spend three weeks each on Mathematics and Reading/Language. If you want to make sure you are preparing for each of the tests properly, break these three-week study sessions into two week-and-a-half sessions in order to spend some time studying the same material by each tests’ standards.
By doing all of this, you are covering all your bases in 10 weeks time. If you can manage, spend the last week or so polishing your writing skills and you are good to go.