Think Outside the Test Prep Box (or 5 Things You Can Do To Study More Effectively For the ACT/SAT)


  5. Don’t study for the whole test

Pinpoint your repeated areas of difficulty and study those. Take a sample test, or sign up for a Hughes proctored exam, before the actual test date so you can focus your study time on the areas in which you, personally, need to improve. Go back through to isolate moments of difficulty and ask your teacher or tutor to help you work through those problems in particular. We recommend studying for all sections of the test, but you should know where your problem areas are and tackle those head on, down to individual math concepts (like circles) or reading sections (like prose).


  1. Study with a friend or two

If you’re working your way through a study calendar with no back up, try studying with one of your friends (preferably one who complements your test strengths). Explaining material to a friend (why you got G while they got J) can really improve your own understanding. If you both struggle with using semicolons correctly, this is a good opportunity to learn together, and learn more thoroughly in the process.


  1. Try a study app

Not to be confused with a study nap, which works well too. There are all kinds of useful study apps if you have a smartphone, and Hughes College Prep can help you figure out which might work best with your learning style.  


  1. Take a walk between school and studying

Even if it’s just around the block, moving around before you start your test prep can really help reset your brain from school. We know it’s a lot to handle during the week, and sometimes to really get new concepts or ideas, you need some space from it first. Move around! Dance around your room for ten minutes! Whatever it takes to give your head a break and then focus your energy, and mindfulness, on answering decoding that tricky science graph.


  1. Read!

Read everything. Read the newspaper. Read novels. Read science journals. Familiarize yourself with articles on things you like. Even reading Harry Potter or The Fault in Our Stars can help with your comprehension skills. The earlier you start reading outside of school, in the name of fun or test prep, the easier it will be to learn critical test prep skills, like skimming or picking out key pieces of information.