Life is busy. You have school, extracurriculars, a social life, hobbies, parents to keep happy, homework to complete, TV to watch, etc., etc. It’s hard enough to balance all this, having to add standardized test preparation to the equation can be overwhelming and chaotic. It doesn’t have to be. It’s a long road to a great score on the ACT, but with enough preparation, this road doesn’t have to be a tough one. Here’s how to create a study schedule that works for you.
Get out ahead of the test by creating a study schedule early. OK, this is easier said than done. Some of us are procrastinators. We wait until the last minute to get things done, we stay up all night the day before a big assignment is due instead of spending an hour every night on it in the week leading up to the due date. Again, that’s OK. We’re all human, and we’re all different. If you know that you’re a procrastinator, this is the time to finally start something ahead of time. Studying for a couple hours every weekend is much more valuable than cramming for eight hours every night the week of your test date. As we discuss in our online course, one of the worst mistakes students make is pulling an all-nighter the Friday before the test, trying to cram in math equations, science terms, and punctuation rules. Being well rested is essential for success, don’t put yourself at a disadvantage.
Create a calendar
You can buy a paper calendar for the wall above the desk in your room, use a digital calendar that you’ll have access to anywhere, or use you can use the same planner that you use for your high school assignments. Whichever method you choose, make sure you’re using the calendar. Lay out your plan and study schedule in advance and stick to it. Remember, you should be allotting a few hours every week months in advance.
At the beginning of your studying, it’s important to assess your strengths and weaknesses using practice problems and practice tests. There are plenty of online diagnostic tests that can help you as well. Once you have determined which specific areas you need extra work in, allocate your studying time and study schedule with lessons in that area. Still mix in some practice problems from other areas, as you don’t want to become rusty in the lessons you exceled in at the beginning. Remember, every question on the ACT is worth the same amount of points, so it’s important to do well on the subjects you are already strong in. For specific lessons, use the TutorMe online ACT course to brush up and improve your score.
Know Your Schedule
Know it, and adjust your study schedule accordingly. The only person who knows your schedule is you. Make sure you’re allotting your time intelligently. Don’t count on studying on a day where you already know that you have prior obligations. Practice tests and problems will require your full attention, don’t give them anything less. Be honest with yourself, and schedule your study time accordingly. Don’t be afraid to adjust on the fly. Like anything, standardized test preparation will have a learning curve. You’ll learn what works for you and what doesn’t along the way. Don’t continue to stay with a certain method if it isn’t working just because you’ve been told it’s the best studying method. Remember, you know your learning style better than anyone else. Use this to your advantage when you’re creating your study schedule.
For more help with studying and creating an effective study schedule, check out our test specific blog posts on the English, Math, Reading, and Science tests. These posts break down each test and give tips on how to study for each one specifically, along with strategy on test day.