Now that high school classes are starting to wind down, high school students across the country are looking forward to the three month break that summer represents. But before you dust off your Xbox and begin three months of mindless leisure activities, you may want to consider using the summer time to prepare for your SAT or ACT tests. Below are three reasons why summer is the best time to prepare for the SAT or ACT.
Most high school students these days have massively full schedules. Between their schoolwork, sports, extra-curricular activities, part time jobs and trying to socialize, trying to find the time to fit in SAT prep during the school year can seem like an impossible task. Preparing over the summer allows you to focus completely on your SAT prep while eliminating the stress of worrying about letting your other responsibilities fall through the cracks. This is especially true when it comes to taking full length practice tests, which is one of the most important things to do to prepare for the exam. It can seem daunting to try and fit in a four hour test during the school year, but during the summer, finding that time comes much more easily.
No conflict in strategy
The work you must do to prepare for academic classes and exams is often very different from the preparation that must occur for the SAT and ACT. High school coursework is often focused on understanding the important content of the class, whether that be trigonometric formulas or United States history. The SAT and ACT however, while requiring a strong foundation of academic knowledge, test more heavily a student’s ability to reason and analyze. Trying to prepare for the SAT and ACT while also preparing for your courses can sometimes be a struggle for students who can’t separate the two different skills needed. As a tutor, I have seen this from students who just can’t learn or apply some of the strategies that are only relevant to the SAT because it is so different from how he or she is learning in school to work through exam questions. By taking the time over the summer, when there is no conflicting coursework, students can more fully master the very different skills needed to perform well on the SAT and ACT.
Keep your mind fresh
Junior and senior years are often the most challenging of a high school student’s career. Students have to adjust to harder classes and often begin their AP coursework. You don’t want to go into junior or senior year with a brain that hasn’t been used or exercised in three months. Once you fall behind in academic classes, it is a constant battle to get caught up and stay on track. The same way you wouldn’t stop exercising completely in between sports seasons and then expect to be able to walk back onto your sports team and perform at the same level you used to, you shouldn’t allow your mind to be completely inactive for three months. Preparing for the SAT/ACT over the summer keeps your mind fresh and nimble, the same way consistent exercise keeps your muscles strong and athletic.
Whatever you decide to do this summer, if you plan on taking the SAT or ACT at some point during your high school career, consider getting started with your prep this summer. Even if it is just 2 hours a week, I promise you will be happy to have it out of the way once the school years starts again!