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Tips for Creating Variety While Studying for the ACT and SAT

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The ACT and SAT are very repetitive exams. Both ask the same types of questions in the same ways over and over. Because of this, studying for either exam can quickly become boring. Here are three tips to help create a sense of variety and keep your ACT or SAT study-sessions fresh.


Vary Your Schedule

While it’s important to have a regular study schedule for the ACT or SAT, that doesn’t mean that you have to work on exactly the same thing every day. Let’s say you plan to study for the SAT on Mondays through Thursdays for an hour each evening. You might start with the Reading section on Monday, Writing on Tuesday, Math on Wednesday, and the Essay on Thursday. After a couple of weeks you would switch the order to Math on Monday, the Essay on Tuesday, Reading on Wednesday, and Writing on Thursday. Alternately, you could work on Reading and Math one week, Writing and Essay the next week, and so on. Whatever approach you take, it’s important to vary what and when you are studying. This will help to keep you from falling into a rut and “auto-piloting” through study sessions.


Create Games out of Questions

For the multiple choice sections, which make up the majority of the exams, you can keep studying interesting by turning them into a game. This works best if you have a couple of friends who are also preparing for the same exam, but you can rope your parents, siblings, and other family members in as well.


A “quiz show” where everyone plays for points works especially well for the ACT and SAT. “Contestants” can “buzz in” when they think they have the right answer. If a contestant gets an answer wrong, the other contestants can attempt to “steal” a point by providing the correct answer. Depending on the number of players, you can divide into teams or have a free for all where each player competes against the others for the highest score.


Collaborate on Study Questions

Study partners are useful for more than just games. Having someone to bounce questions and answers off of can help to lessen the tedium of ACT/SAT studying. Take turns explaining your answers (both correct and incorrect) to your study partners and asking them if they agree with your reasoning. This can also help you think about other ways to correctly answer tricky types of questions. The ACT and SAT don’t care why you get a question correct as long as you get that question correct. It’s quite possible that your study partners have come up with some better or easier approaches for certain questions and you for other questions.

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