Summer is thought of by parents, students, and teachers alike as a time for rest and relaxation, free from the stresses and commitments of the academic year. However, for students entering the junior year of high school, it is also a window of opportunity to begin SAT and ACT test prep. No student wants to dedicate a portion of his or her summer to preparing for these standardized tests, but if one chooses to do so, a huge payoff can be observed in the following months.
There are several reasons why beginning SAT/ACT prep in the summer months is a good idea, but the most obvious is-- there’s no school! Not only is a student’s schedule more open during the summer, but her brain is also more prepared to take in and absorb information. It is already a difficult task to balance 5 high school courses; adding SAT prep on top of all that pushes a student to her retention and information processing limits. When a student doesn’t have to think about her school courses, band recital, or the big game next weekend, she is able to focus on the information at hand and thus have a greater chance of remembering it in the future. Secondly, a student is better able to learn the strategies for taking the SAT when she is not also thinking about the strategy for solving his calculus equation or outlining her research paper. The specific kind of critical reading and math questions on the SAT and ACT requires dedicated practice. Finally, beginning test prep in the summer months opens the door to a more relaxed, stress-free test-taking experience. Getting an early start before school can put students ahead of the game, making them feel more prepared for their first officially administered SAT or ACT without the extra stressors of classroom work or extracurriculars.