ACT / SAT 1-year Study Plan

 

Looking for a simple ACT / SAT Study Plan?

Creating a study schedule shouldn’t be overwhelming. With enough time, one can move a mountain with a teaspoon. 

Here is an example of how to create a study schedule based on a 1-year timeline.

  • 2 days a week
  • 2 hours each day
  • 208 hours of study time

 

Data Analysis and Study Plan–Cycle 1

 

Month 1: Practice Tests and Data Analysis

Weeks 1-2: Start the process by taking a full-length (untimed) practice test to get a baseline score for the exam. This first practice test will give you a feel for how the test is formatted, what type of questions are asked in each section, and provide a better understanding of where you are starting (strengths and weaknesses). Feel free to take this practice test in sections…do not rush!

 

Week 3-4: Score and break down the data to find strengths and weaknesses.

Reflect on:

  • Main features of the test
  • Strengths (questions you got correct)
  • Weaknesses (questions you got wrong)
  • Types of questions that were confusing
  • Answer choices that confused you during the test

Make notes (in detail) of items that you need to study and areas where you need to review.

 

Months 2-4: Study

Now that you have a better understanding of the exam….it is time to study the content! Over the next three months, take each section of the exam and begin to dive into the areas where you struggled. Review the questions you got wrong, focusing on errors and content connected to those types of questions. Review, refresh and familiarize yourself with each subject area.

Focus on:

  • Reviewing basic math topics
  • Building algebra foundations
  • Understanding problem solving and data analysis foundations
  • Reviewing English Grammar and punctuation concepts
  • Reading comprehension and the types of questions asked for each passage
  • Writing foundations and essay formatting (if completing essay component)

 

Data Analysis and Study Plan–Cycle 2

 

Month 5: Practice Tests and Data Analysis

Week 1: Take another practice test but try to make this exam mimic the actual testing environment as much as possible. If the test is 3 hours and 50 minutes with a 15-minute break, mimic the testing environment as closely as you can. This “timed” practice test will give you a better understanding of how you will feel on Test Day. Remember, remove all distractions (i.e- T.V, cellphone, food).

 

Weeks 2-4: Score the “timed” practice test and break down the data to find strengths and weaknesses when it comes to content. See if you made any additional mistakes when you had to factor in the time restraints. Reflect on the following areas:

  • Did I get the questions wrong because I don’t know the answer/content?
    • If so, what content do I need to study?
  • Did I get the question wrong because I rushed and didn’t really think about what it was asking?
    • If so, what element of the question was confusing?
  • Did I run out of time on this section of the test?
    • If so, what content do I need to focus on so that I do not run out of time again?
  • Did I have time to spare on this section?
    • If so, what content or questions did I get correct?

Make notes (in detail) of items that you need to study and areas where you need to review

 

Month 6-8: Study

Over the next three months, continue to break down your timed practice test and better understand weaknesses/strengths when dealing with content. Add in the idea of test-taking strategies and better understanding of how the test works.  Focus on the following task areas:

 

Task 1- Mindset Analysis Task 2- Testing Strategies Task 3- Content Knowledge
Look at each test question as follows:

  • Improving mindset: review questions you got incorrect and focus on fixing the error
  • Enhancing mindset: study the questions you got right to improve speed and efficiency
When breaking down your practice test, look at Testing Strategies. For example:

  • Work on eliminating wrong answer choices
    • Process of Elimination
  • Work on deciding between 2 “good” answer choices
    • There are often times when two answers look correct- learn how to pick the correct answer
Work on better understanding

content knowledge:

  • building advanced mathematical skills
  • gaining knowledge about problem-solving
  • increasing knowledge of reading comprehension and grammar skills
  • focusing on writing prompts (if you are taking the essay component)
  • Memorizing formulas for Math concepts

 

Data Analysis and Study Plan Cycle 3

 

Month 9: Practice Tests and Data Analysis

Weeks 1-2: Take a second practice test and follow the time requirements. For example: the SAT Math section is 80 minutes in length, take that specific section and time the process. Repeat this format for each area of the test; break up each timed section and complete the full exam over the span of one-two weeks.

 

Weeks 3-4: Score the “timed” practice test and break down the data to find strengths and weaknesses when it comes to content, testing strategies, and time restraints. When analyzing the questions you got wrong, ask:

  1. Content: Did I get the question wrong because I don’t know the answer/content?
  2. Test-taking Strategy: Did I get the question wrong because the question was tricky? (answer choices, wording of the question, process of elimination)
  3. Time Issue: Did I get the question wrong because I rushed?

 

Months 10-11: Study

Once again, over the next two months, continue to break down your timed practice test and better understand weaknesses/strengths when dealing with content and test-taking strategies  Focus on fine-tuning your skill set. Remember, it is important to study the questions and content you got incorrect, but that doesn’t mean you “breeze” through the items you answered correctly. Use those correct test questions to fine-tune your content knowledge and help with testing strategies.  

 

Data Analysis and Study Plan–Cycle 4

 

Month 12: Practice Test and Data Analysis

Week 1: Take a final practice test and follow the time requirements exactly. Remove all distractions and focus on taking the exam like you would on Test Day. This is your final practice test and should be used to build stamina.

 

Weeks 2-4: Score the practice test and review your answers. Focus on any last minute issues that may present themselves. Make note of content issues and/or test-taking strategies that may need more attention. Take these last weeks to iron out all of the minor kinks.

 

This is your final “Practice Test and Data Analysis Cycle” and should be used to address only small concerns. You are at the end of the study plan and have studied for an entire year! You are ready to attack the test will confidence and determination.  Good Luck!

 

If this testing plan is too cumbersome and lengthy, feel free to check out the 6-month testing plan.

 

Also, if you feel this 1-year study plan is overwhelming, think about hiring a tutor to help with the process. 

 

How can MINDSPIRE help with any exam?

 

At MINDSPIRE, we provide tutoring and test prep that is tailored to specific learning styles and individual needs. If you are interested in getting a tutor for any standardized exam, give us a call at 844-537-PREP (7737).

 

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