Even as they start to enjoy summer, high school juniors and seniors know they are facing standardized testing in the fall.
For seniors, it’s the last chance to get their best scores on the SAT or ACT before college applications are submitted. For juniors, the fall SAT or ACT can be a good indicator of areas that need improvement and require more preparation. Taking advantage of the summer to prepare for these tests makes smart academic sense and teaches students how to get over test anxiety.
Standardized test prep doesn’t need to be torturous. Your student will retain more if it’s delivered in small doses and won’t be cramming the last few weeks before the test. Summer is the perfect time to spread the study out.
Whether your student is taking the SAT or the ACT, these 12 summer study tips will help with preparations for standardized tests in the fall.
All test experts tell you that reading is one of the best and easiest ways to prepare for standardized tests. Reading for entertainment is helpful, but reading for content and purpose will help students ace the reading portions of the tests.
2. Schedule self-paced study.
Use the SAT practice resources produced by the College Board or the ACT study resources from ACT.org and study at your own pace. Each offers free online study tools to help your student prepare for the test. Use the summer to set a regular study schedule and stick to it.
3. Take a practice test.
Practice tests help your student evaluate strengths and weaknesses. Set aside time to complete a practice test in the time constraints given for each test. It will help your student learn to pace for the test. Taking a practice test also helps students figure out whether the ACT or SAT shows them to their best advantage.
4. Use the practice tests as a study guide.
It does no good to take a test if you don’t score it and use the results to study. This will help your student narrow down which aspects of the test need work and which ones don’t. These practice tests are invaluable study tools.
5. Consider signing up for a test-prep course.
There are a variety of courses available throughout the summer, both in person and online. Online courses offer students the flexibility to test prep solutions that cater to the individual student. These courses offer a diagnostic test, lesson videos, practice materials and reports that help your student track progress. Many are affordable and often have free trials to take them for a test drive.
6. Hire a private tutor.
Many students need the one-on-one instruction that a private tutor can give. Tutors can help your student evaluate academic strengths and give personalized academic tutoring. The cost of a private tutor will pay off in the long run by producing higher test scores which often translate into more merit aid.
7. Sign up for daily test prep.
8. Boost vocabulary.
Use flash cards, post words on the refrigerator, and talk about them at dinner. Crossword puzzles also help increase vocabulary and can be done together as a family. Try prizes to induce participation.
Students can practice writing essays by journaling or blogging. Since most of the communication today is done by texting, it’s good to practice using correct grammar, syntax and complete sentences. This is also good practice for college application essays or AP classes.
10. Study with a friend.
The buddy system helps your student stay accountable and can be an incentive to study. Studying with others also boosts confidence and spurs your student to excel through friendly competition.
11. Review math skills.
The math part of each test requires knowledge of basic math concepts and formulas. The study resources for each test provides an index of the math skills required and the practice tests give your student an idea of the type of math questions and equations that will be on the test.
12. Don’t waste the summer.
Summer gives your student the time to focus entirely on test prep without the pressure of added schoolwork. This time is valuable and should be utilized to prepare for the tests. Summer study will give your student an edge and the confidence for the tests.