Tricks of the Trade: Five Ways to Help you Study for the SAT and ACT

Looking for a way to focus and get your studying done? Whether you're prepping for school or for a standardized test, we’ve got five ways that can help you beat the bookworm doldrums and get yourself back on track!

  • Turn on some light background music. We’ve heard tales of students who play songs while studying and then softly sing them back during the exam to help them remember. Although you may not necessarily want to avail yourself of this particular mnemonic device, there is something to be said for the calming power of music. Turn on some quiet tunes while you work through your study materials—playing music can often help calm you while you study, as well as prepare you for distractions during the exam. 
  • Take practice tests! We all remember the scene in Legally Blonde where Elle’s friends time her while she takes a practice LSAT (and then grade her test afterwards). Do the same thing for the SAT or ACT! Taking practice tests is one of the absolute best ways to get into practice what you know and get your mind in gear for test day. Getting friends involved can also be a good idea, since they know how to motivate you and can keep you on track and pumped! 
  • Review for 30 to 45 minutes before bed, mixing up subjects. Studies show that we are more likely to retain information that we study right before sleeping. Don’t let this be the only time you study, though, since it’ll be unlikely that you’ll be able to cram in everything you need to know—and you’ll be tired, too. Instead, just let it be a light review. 
  • Take your time! Learn material over the course of weeks (preferably months!) so you aren’t cramming everything in a mere two days before the test. When it comes to tests like the SAT and ACT, cramming won’t do much good—but slow, steady practice will do the trick.
  • Teach someone else. Chances are your parents don’t remember simple algebra anymore (I know mine didn’t!) or one of your friends is struggling with a section of the test. Sometimes the best way for you to solidify your learning is to teach someone else. Not only does this allow you to review the material but it gives you confidence in what you’re doing.

Got any study and concentration tips of your own? Share them in the comments!