SAT Boot Camp: A Strong Study Schedule Activity

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Updated on Feb 20, 2013

Want to help your teen ace the SAT? The key is to establish a schedule for studying and then stick to it. Sure, spending an hour or more studying may sound like a drag. But by the time the big day rolls around, your teen will be cool as a cucumber while his classmates are wishing they'd trained to get into SAT shape! Here's a step-by-step guide to getting underway.

  1. Time frame: The best study schedule will encompass a period of 1 to 2 months. Your schedule should be for five days a week over the entire period.

  2. Finding Time: Decide how much time can be devoted to studying each night, while making allowances for homework and extracurricular commitments. It should be at least one hour, and preferably 2 – 3 hours, per night.

  3. Making a Plan: Write out a schedule for studying. Each night focus on one area of the SAT. If your study time extends past an hour, be sure to schedule a break every hour. Each week re-make the schedule to fit what needs to be studied the most.

  4. Studying: When it comes time to study, ensure your child has a place that is quiet and free of distractions (no computers, phones, television, video games, etc). If needed have them go to a library to study.

  5. Practice Tests: Finish each week’s schedule with a timed practice exam. This allows you to refocus next week’s schedule, and also to gauge your son or daughter’s progress.

  6. Sticking to the Plan: It isn’t enough to just make a plan. Obviously you have to ensure that your teen sticks to the plan. A gentle reminder each night will probably be enough to keep them from procrastinating.

A Sample Schedule (for one week):

  • Monday: Study vocabulary for 1 hour. Take a break. Further improve reading comprehension by going over the answers to a practice test for 1 hour. Focus on the wrong answers and learning why they are wrong.

  • Tuesday: Study Geometry rules for 1 hour. Take a break. Practice by doing 30 practice questions in two different sections of previously released SATs.

  • Wednesday: Work on reading comprehension. Do three long passages from a practice SAT and then answer the questions accordingly. Take a break. Work on English grammar (writing) skills by studying questions from a practice exam.

  • Thursday: Do four sections of the math test on a practice SAT. Take a break. Study the areas where you got the most answers wrong.

  • Friday: Take a timed practice test. Use the exact breaks allotted on the Real SAT.

When the week is finished, hone your schedule for the next week (based on the practice test results). For example: If your teen needs to focus on one area more than another – rearrange next week to compensate. Working this way over the course of a month will ensure they’re ready when the test comes!

Ross Blankenship is an admissions expert and the President of Top Test Prep. Top Test Prep provides private tutoring and expert admissions counseling for students applying to prep schools, colleges and graduate schools.

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