During winter recess, as a high school junior (or the parent of one), you may have a few weeks off due to the holidays and some spare time on your hands….what can you or your student do? We know that the next ACT and SAT tests may be a few weeks off, but now is as good a time as ever to study or catch up on your studying. We were surprised to find out that pretty much ALL of The Official Study SAT Guide (aka the Big Blue Book) is online, and this is a great resource to start reviewing. The chapters are divided up and can be found here: https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat/inside-the-test/study-guide-students. The front introductory chapters have some very useful material, including tips, and good sample passages. As we know, there are 8 full-length official practice SAT tests available online, along with their explanations and score converters (see https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat/practice/full-length-practice-tests).

If you’re a junior and haven’t yet done so, you should connect your PSAT or official SAT results to Khan Academy (see this site for instructions on completing this). If you’re studying for the ACT, the Khan Academy may STILL be useful (the ACT Academy actually directs you to some Khan Academy lessons). We (and the College Board) recommend completing 10-20 hours of official practice test material to see increases in your scores. Obviously, we don’t want you to do this in one day, two days, or even a week. You should be strategic and complete 20-30 minutes of practice a night, 6 days a week, for 6-8 weeks leading up to the test. If you do the math (this does seem like an ACT or SAT test question) using 25 minutes per night, 6 days a week, for 6 weeks, that totals 900 minutes which is (surprise!) 15 hours of practice.

So set a schedule for yourself (a realistic one) with tangible deadlines: you’ll start doing this over break (could this be a New Year’s resolution?). You’ll take a full-length practice test on Saturday, January 19th. You’ll review that test and continue completing 20-30 minutes of practice a night, 6 days a week. You’ll take a full section (math, writing, etc.) during the week leading up the test. Make a contract with yourself:

I, (insert your name), will study 20-30 minutes a night beginning December 27th, 2018 Mondays-Saturdays. I will seek out help from (insert the name of someone who can help you) if I have questions. After I take the official test on (insert your test date), I will celebrate by (insert something fun like skiing, going to a movie, or hanging out with friends).

And do write this down and hang it on your fridge, in your room, or insert it into your planner. Happy holidays and have a great 2019! We’ll be around in the new year if you need us to help you reach your goals.