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  • Chris Scoggins

How Long Should I Spend Preparing for the SAT/ACT?

Standardized tests are things that we really don’t want to spend any more time on than necessary. Honestly, there are friends, work, school, jobs… it’s one more thing to do, but it’s immensely important. So, how do you know when you’ve hit the mark on your studying? Ultimately, it is different for every person, but here are a few steps to help you get started.

- Step 1: What’s Your Benchmark?

You can’t know where you need to go if you don’t know where you are. First, you need to take a practice standardized test of your choice to see where you fall. Knowing that you can establish a realistic goal and a reach goal even. If you have to increase your score by a large margin, plan to study longer. It sounds obvious, but many a student has placed impossible expectations on themselves in increasing their score by a large gain in a short span of time. Don’t do it, plan accordingly.

- Step 2: Where Are You Weak?

There are some sections that are easier at improving than others, and that ease is determined by the nature of the student. Maybe you’re a math whiz but struggle with reading quickly. Or maybe it’s the opposite. Typically, it’s easier to improve mathematically than pick up a mastery of comprehensive reading in three months, so plan accordingly based on your strengths and weaknesses. Also, be willing to humble yourself and put in the elbow grease understanding that you may have to work a little harder in some areas.

- Step 3: Evaluate Your Ultimate Goal?

Perhaps you are a superstar on paper and can get by with an above-average score, or maybe you slacked off in high school and need a powerful score to give you a boost. If you’re trying to let your decision ride mostly on the test, you will need to plan for a long hall. It’s not a bad strategy to study for up to a year if possible if that is what you need. We don’t recommend that you take any portion of your overall application lightly, but if you are going this route like many students, make sure you plan accordingly.

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