I can tell it’s summer around here because I’m getting blank stares from kids when I ask them what 2+2 equals. (You can imagine the confusion when I ask them about fractional exponents or inverse slopes!)
Summer math brain has set in! It’s way too hard to focus when it’s so gorgeous outside. So how do you keep studying for the SAT (or the ACT) in the face of so much temptation?
Take it easy
The last thing I want to do is to burn an official SAT test on a kid who isn’t paying attention (There are only 8 SATs currently released. You need to make every one count!)
I usually don’t have students work on previously taken tests. During the school year there just isn’t enough time and we rarely get through 8 tests anyway.
But this summer I’ve got a couple of students who are going to run out of test material. So we’ve been reviewing previous tests – they just print out another copy of the test and work through it again.
It’s been eye-opening to see how they work through (or don’t work through) a problem they struggled with before. It’s easy to see which concepts and approaches AREN’T sticking so I can change up our approach.
Revisit your past mistakes
A couple of weeks (or a month) after you’ve taken a section, take it again. Compare which ones you missed this time with which ones you missed last time. It should be really clear what you still need to work on to get higher scores.
Track your mistakes
Here’s a spreadsheet you can use to track your mistakes. You’ll want to document WHAT you missed, WHY you missed it, and your NEW strategy to make sure you don’t make that same mistake again. (Here’s the SAT tracking sheet or the ACT tracking sheet.)
Take a break
Be sure to get outside and enjoy that summer sunshine. Go play! Research shows that diffuse thinking is just as important as focused thinking. So after a study session get out there and do nothing! Alternating working with relaxing and playing will help your achieve your desired goal more quickly.
So work on the test, work on your tan, have lots of fun with your friends and family and you’ll be in great shape for the next ACT or SAT at the end of the summer.
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