Last Updated: Jun 26, 2017
Now that high school classes are starting to wind down, high school students across the country are looking forward to summer and three months of hanging out and doing, well, not much else. But before you get comfortable in front of your Xbox, you may want to consider using the summer to prepare for your SAT or ACT tests. It can give you a surprisingly strong advantage and won’t actually cut into your leisure time that much. Here are four more reasons why the summer is the perfect time to prepare for the SAT or ACT:
You’re probably all too aware: high school students have massively full schedules. Between schoolwork, sports, extracurricular activities, part-time jobs, and trying to socialize, finding the time to fit in SAT prep during the school year can seem impossible. But preparing over the summer allows you to focus completely on your SAT prep while eliminating the stress of worrying about letting your other responsibilities fall through the cracks. This is especially true when it comes to taking full-length practice tests, which is one of the most important things to do to get ready for the exam. It’s daunting to fit in a four-hour practice test during the school year, but during the summer, finding that time comes much more easily.
No conflict in strategy
The work you must do to prepare for academic classes and exams is often very different from the preparation that must occur for the SAT and ACT. High school course work is often focused on understanding the important content of the class, whether that be trigonometric formulas or United States history. The SAT and ACT, however, require both a strong foundation of academic knowledge and test more heavily a student’s ability to reason and analyze. Trying to prepare for the SAT and ACT while also preparing for your courses can sometimes be a struggle for students who can’t separate the two different skills needed. By preparing for these tests over the summer, when there is no conflicting course work, so students can more fully master the different skills needed to perform well on the SAT and ACT.
If you want a little more support in your SAT/ACT prep and plan to work with a tutor, summer is the best time to start looking. Often, the best tutors are booked up by the time the fall or spring tests roll around. These tutors typically begin taking on new students over the summer though, so if you get started early, you are much likelier to get access.
Exercise for your brain
Junior and senior years are often the most challenging of a high school student’s career. Students have to adjust to harder classes and often begin their AP course work. You don’t want to go into junior or senior year with a brain that’s rusty after three months of nothing but summer blockbusters and sunscreen applications. The same way you wouldn’t stop exercising completely in between sports seasons and then expect to be able to walk back onto your sports team and perform at the same level you used to, you shouldn’t allow your mind to be completely inactive for three months. Preparing for the SAT and ACT over the summer keeps your mind fresh and nimble.
Whatever you decide to do this summer, if you plan on taking the SAT or ACT at some point during your high school career, consider getting started with your test prep now during the break. Even if it is just two hours a week, you will be happy to have it out of the way once the school years starts again!