Given the fact that you need to prep for the ACT or SAT at least three months before test day, it can be hard to motivate yourself to read yet another classic novel, review geometric formulas, or go over ACT or SAT practice questions to identify your weak areas. Here are some tips to help you stay motivated to learn the skills you need to ace these exams.
1. Keep Your End Goal in Mind
Do you have a particular university in mind that you want to attend? If possible, take a tour of the campus grounds. If that’s not possible, print out a few appealing pictures of the university and hang them up in your bedroom and on the bathroom mirror. When you feel tired of studying, look at the photos to remind yourself why you’re brushing up on grammar and math skills instead of relaxing with friends.
2. Create Small Goals and Rewards
Perhaps you want to earn a particular score on the ACT or SAT. Maybe you want to memorize all the math formulas you’ll need before taking the ACT. Alternatively, you may be trying to master the rules of subject/verb agreement.
If you aren’t sure what your goals should be, use an ACT or SAT practice test to help determine your weak areas. (UWorld has some handy exercises formatted to look just like the actual test; they also come with explanations to help you understand how to arrive at the correct answer.)
Once you know which areas need work, set goals for yourself along with a deadline for reaching them. When you reach a goal, treat yourself to a show or movie, your favorite snack, or some other reward that will motivate you to reach the next goal, and the next.
3. Find a Study Partner
Do you know someone else who is studying for the ACT or SAT? If so, team up with them and study together. You can quiz each other on grammar and math skills, practice vocabulary together, read non-fiction passages to help you improve your reading and writing skills, and more. Working with a partner will help you avoid the temptation to skip out on study time and enable both of you to reach your goal of earning a good test score.
You don’t need to spend hours every single day studying for the ACT or SAT. However, you do need to set aside quality study time each day to master the skills you need to get a good score. This most likely means that you’ll need to sacrifice some of your free time to study for the ACT or SAT. If you find your study times are getting boring and you’re losing the motivation to learn, use the tips outlined here to help you get back on track. Once the test is over and you’ve earned a good score, you’ll be thankful you make the effort to study.