So you’ve decided to tackle studying for the ACT or SAT during spring break. Kudos to you!
In an effort to prepare yourself for this feat, you’ve searched for a few tips to help you be successful–and here you are. So here they are:
1. Make a realistic schedule
Set a goal for yourself, but make it reasonable. Don’t devote an entire day of break to studying. Chances are that’s not going to happen–you’d be miserable (or napping).
My senior year of high school I decided I’d try to study for AP Biology over spring break. My 20 pound book traveled to Cancun with me. Guess how many times it was opened..once. And not even by me! The security lady flipped through it when we were boarding the plane.
2. Break it down
If you say you’re going to study for 3 hours every morning and you wake up the first morning of break and go to brunch, you’ll decide that you’ve already failed. If you miss your goal on day one, what are the chances you’ll try again for day two? Instead, try intervals.
And shoot for a time of day, not a specific time. Otherwise you’ll end up telling yourself you’re going to study at 3:00, but when you look at the clock it says 3:05, so you decide to wait until 4:00.
Perhaps studying for 20 minutes, in the morning, afternoon, and evening will work best for you. That leaves time for activities, not just academics.
3. Use your resources
Technology is pretty awesome. There are apps, websites, and blogs with tips, tricks, and things you need to know for test day. Need help finding a few good ones? Try these SAT test prep resources and/or these ACT test prep ones.
Have a long drive ahead of you with the fam? Planning to spend a few days relaxing on the beach? Apps are great for that and don’t require carrying anything extra around. Let’s be real, you won’t be letting your phone out of your sight.
If you’re planning to travel somewhere without internet or readily available wifi, get yourself a test prep book. Some companies even make flashcard sets. Both options are lighter than textbooks, thank goodness. If you decide to go this route, plan ahead a bit. These books are usually much cheaper on Amazon than at your local bookstore.
4. Reward yourself
It’s spring break–if you actually spend time studying, congratulate yourself! You’ve succeeded where many before you (myself included) have failed.
After you’ve read a chapter, answered review questions, or completed an activity on an app, do something fun! You’ve earned it.
Even if you’re staying at home you can find something new to try or fun to do. Go hang out with friends, see a movie, go to the mall–anything except sitting at a desk. My personal favorite, go try a new gelato flavor (this can be done locally or abroad).
If you are successful on day one, reward yourself, and repeat. If not, try again on day two.
As you progress through the week, sticking to your schedule might get easier (habit forming) or harder (more activities scheduled). But just think, if you can study over spring break, by the time school starts again, maintaining the schedule will feel like a breeze.