You’ve learned the structure of the test. You’ve identified the key facts to drill. You’ve set ambitious targets for your score. Great job! Now you need a strong support program to get you to your goals.
Start by giving your homework sessions a makeover. Different approaches build different skills, so bring all of these strategies to your homework game and your scores will thank you.
- Memorization drill. Flashcards (or flashcard aps!) are great for locking down facts like the rules of comma use or the order of mathematical operations. Frequent, short drill sessions work best. Just reading over your notes won’t give you the same results; choose a method that makes you try to come up with the answer on your own.
- Untimed passages or sections. When you’re learning a new strategy, start by working with it at your own pace. Give yourself time to think it through and try variations until you are sure you’ve got a handle on it. Speeding up too quickly will make it harder to get it right.
- Timed passages or sections. Once your untimed practice is solid, shift to timed drill. Set time targets for each section of the test, and break those section-long targets down into smaller units – for instance, 13 minutes per passage/question set for the SAT Reading section. This will develop your pace and help you keep tough questions from hogging your time.
Full practice tests. Use full-length tests, either at home or in a proctored environment, to build up your stamina for the lengthy test and to familiarize yourself with the feel (and distractions!) of the testing room.