4 Tips on Studying Independently for the SAT and ACT

Sep 28, 2015 by Yolanda Fontanez-Coleman | ACT, SAT Prep, Test Prep

Frustrated Student boy

I plan on taking the SATs this fall and winter. I am considering studying on my own, do you have any tips on how to prepare for these tests on my own?

Studying independently for the SAT and ACT exams is a huge undertaking.  It can be very overwhelming to do independently, however, it is possible. Here are 4 tips on how to get you started with a successful independent test prep program.

Planning is Key:
You will want to start your test prep with planning. This will create a pattern of success for you. Take the time to plan out your test prep plan for the week. When is the best time to fit in your test prep study time? Once you find the time that works best in your schedule, be sure to write it down. Mark it on your wall calendar, schedule it in your phone calendar. The more you document the less likely you will miss your study time! (Remember to set up a calendar alert a few minutes before as this will get you in the right mindset!)

Positive Mindset:
Having the right mindset is key to anything you do. We all know that studying for these exams can be challenging especially with homework and after school activities . However, you are preparing for one of the biggest and most important milestones in your life. Staying motivated and positive will help you have a more productive time while you study. If you need encouragement post some motivational quotes around your study area. This will help you refocus and stay motivated!

Study Plan:
Creating a study plan is very important, especially when doing an independent test prep program. Be certain to design a study plan based on your learning style and personality. For example, if you are strong in math and not strong in reading, you will want to schedule your reading sections early afternoons when you have the most energy and focus. Since math is your forte you can probably do okay with working on math later in the evening. Also, consider spending more study time in the subject area that is needed.

Get It Done:
Now that you have the planning and positive mindset established it is time to get it done! Be consistent, move through the curriculum at your own pace, analyze your work and if you get stuck, seek help!

An independent test prep program can be very successful however it is not a good fit for everyone. If you find that this type of test prep program is not working, that is ok. Perhaps hiring a test prep tutor would be a better option for you. A test prep tutor will help you on a weekly basis, check in with you consistently and will be your accountability partner. Most importantly a test prep tutor will teach you strategies you need to master the test and get the best possible score.

Good Luck and Happy Studying!

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