Study Skills: The Month Before the Test

Posted by College Corner on 4/3/13 7:15 AM

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Once the beginning of May rolls around, testing season picks up speed. You can reduce your stress by creating a roadmap for the couple weeks leading up to test day.

If you aren't sure about putting together a study schedule, or need help sifting through content, reach out to us for a free study skills consultation to speak with an academic tutor or test prep expert. If you feel comfortable working independently, check in with yourself a month before the test so that you know exactly where you are in the test prep process.

As an SAT tutor, GRE tutor and homework help tutor, I work with students of all ages and I know that the weeks right before any test test are vital.

Those weeks represent your opportunity to consolidate all the work you’ve done to date: clarify challenging concepts, understand the test format and timing, iron out any logistical details. Making sure you are organized in advance will serve you on game day when anxiety creeps in.

Here are 5 easy ways to make sure that you stay organized and that your standardized test preparation remains effective, and that you remain cool, calm and collected day of the test. 

1) Set a schedule and stick to it.

First, assess the amount of material that still needs to be covered, then break it up into digestible chunks of information. Chart a daily schedule that seems manageable and stick to it.

2) Invest in your time spent studying.

Don’t skimp on studying. Make sure that you are thorough and attentive when you study. Studying effectively requires effort, not just face time in front of your books and notes.

3) Achieve balance with rest and exercise.

If you run at full speed for the next couple weeks, you will be exhausted come test day. Students typically perform better with rest and exercise built into their routine. Try to sleep 8 hours a night and exercise at least 3 hours during the week to break up test prep.

4) Step Back.

The week before the test shouldn’t be spent cramming. Instead, comb through the material you have studied and fill in the gaps. Identify any weak spots and re-emphasize concepts. Take a practice exam if you can swing it, so that you can practice pacing and build stamina for the real thing.

5) Rest the night before the test.

Take a break: Don’t study. Relax. Have a nice dinner and go to bed early.

Once you have come up with a plan that works well for you, remember that consistency and balance are important. You don't want to show up to the test burnt out and disorganized, so make sure to study regularly, but also to leave time for rest and play.  Now..go forth and demolish the test!

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Tags: study skills, SAT