Are you getting ready to take the ACT or SAT before applying to college? Don’t stress out – there are a lot of things that you can do to prepare well for these tests! Taking standardized tests like the ACT or SAT can seem a little scary, but the more you are prepared, the less nervous you’ll be (and the better you’ll do on the tests!). Start preparing to take the ACT or SAT as early as possible, so that you can achieve the high score that you deserve! Usually, it is recommended that you start studying for the these tests the summer after your sophomore year in high school Here are a couple of tips to help you get ready to ace these tests:
- Practice Writing Essays: The new SAT format includes a persuasive writing section, where you will need to select one side of an issue and give examples to support your argument. You will need to rely on your writing skills and the real examples that you give to help you form a strong essay. Practice writing essays where you defend an issue completely. The best outline form for these essays is with five paragraphs: the first paragraph should be your introduction, the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th paragraphs should each discuss one of your examples to support your argument, and the 5th paragraph should be your conclusion. The organization and clear format of your essay is very important. You will have 25 minutes during the actual test, so time yourself as you practice at home. Make sure that your practice essays don’t discuss the other side of the issue – this could make you appear too wishy-washy and unsure of your own standpoint. Remember – the more you practice this section, the easier and better it will get!
- Math tips: While preparing for the ACT or SAT, it is a good idea to go over your math vocabulary. Words like integer, absolute value, congruent, mode, and prime number often can appear on these kinds of standardized tests. Also, practice using the FOIL method while forming quadratic equations. FOIL stands for “first, outer, inner, last,” and it describes the method that you take while forming quadratic equations. It also is a good idea to be familiar with simple fraction-to-decimal conversions (0.75 = _ = 75%). Although you can use your calculator, being aware of these simple conversions can help you to save time while taking this portion of the test.
- Reading tips: One of the best ways that you can prepare for standardized tests like the ACT or SAT is by memorizing vocabulary words. The Princeton Review’s Hit Parade has a list of the frequently tested vocabulary words, and we’ve listed a couple of them here for you: abstract, aesthetic, alleviate, ambivalent, apathetic, auspicious, benevolent, candor, comprehensive, diligent, dubious, eclectic, egregious, exculpate, florid, gratuitous, hackneyed, idealize, impartial, imperious, inherent, innovative, inveterate, laudatory, maverick, mollify, novel, obdurate, ornate, ostentatious, paramount, penitent, pervasive, plausible, prosaic, quandary, rancorous, spurious, stoic, superfluous, tenuous, timorous, transitory, vindicated.
One of the best ways to study vocabulary words is by making flashcards. Also, another tip is to try and use these vocabulary words in your every day conversation – that will help you to remember the words better.
- Study and Practice! It is important that you study as much as possible for the ACT and SAT. There are also SAT and ACT prep classes that are offered through different prep companies, such as The Princeton Review. You also could check with your high school, to see if any prep classes will be offered after school. Other helpful ACT and SAT study guides can also be bought at bookstores or checked out from your library. Not only to these guides have helpful tips, but they also have practice tests that you can take before the big test day! These guides are updated often, so that you can read about the current information that will be on your test!