The next SAT and ACT test dates are approaching very quickly leaving very little time to prepare for the exams. If you're concerned about how well you will do, don't over-stress yourself! Yes, you should be worried, however there is still room for improvement and time to prepare for the test. Below I've provided some helpful tips on how you can capitalize on preparing for the test with a one-month deadline. Do understand that you should prepare yourself to make a serious time commitment to maximize on practice and study time!
Take a FREE practice test!
Before you can develop a study plan that best works for you, you need to identify your strengths and weaknesses. Taking a practice exam allows you to become familiar with the questions, content and format. You should plan to take the exam in simulated test conditions! This means going somewhere quiet with no electronics, no books, or anything that would not be acceptable to bring during the real test. Time yourself, grade each section and assess your results. Identifying your trouble areas gives you the opportunity to practice over the next few weeks to help improve your score.
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Utilize FREE online resources
Why spend a ton of money on practice guides and test books when you can get them online for free?! Khan Academy, for example, is a GREAT website that offers free lessons on various test topics. There's also videos on YouTube and free apps you can download on your phone to help you prepare for the exam. Take advantage of these resources as they are a great way to cut costs! Additionally, these guides typically provide questions, answers and the method to solve each problem. This is a great way to see where you went wrong, learn from it and correct it that way you do not make the same mistake again!
I can't stress enough how critical it is for you to manage your time to prepare for the test! You're already down to the wire with one month (or less) to study for the exam so every waking minute counts towards your efforts. At this point you should have taken the practice test to determine what needs the most attention. Try starting out studying for 30 minutes and each day after increasing your study time by 10 minutes. If you continue at that rate you should reach a total of 5.5 hours' worth of study time to commit to by the 30th day. Obviously if you can commit more time to your study habits that would be great but this is a gradual approach to help you remain focused and consistent. DON'T CHEAT YOURSELF! Go to a place where you will not be distracted, get in your zone and don't come out until you've reached your maxed study time for the day.
Practice, Practice, and more Practice
Last, but most important is to continue practicing! Review the practice test you've taken, utilize your free resources for practice questions, practice those questions you got wrong, just don't stop PRACTICING! Now that you've got your timing down packed divide your time between studying and practicing. If you are doing an hour of studying per day, commit a half hour to your studies and the other half to practicing questions. Focus on a specific subject one day and alternate topics on different days. Don't just do a few problems and say you're done for the day, no, thoroughly complete the questions and understand how to solve them. Time yourself! Become familiar with the instructions, the style of the questions, the content and the format of the exam. The last thing you want to do on the actual test date is waste time reading over the instructions trying to familiarize yourself with the test expectations. Remember, you're working with one month to learn as much as you can to prepare for the test and we want you to be as prepared as you can be to get a great score!