With the winter holidays behind us, standardized testing season is in full swing, with an ACT test in February and the SAT a month later. If you’re taking one and not the other, or happen to be taking both, your studying will have to change accordingly to account for different test material.
Like we always say, extensive structured practice is the key to test success. That’s why we encourage you to develop a study calendar to guide your preparation for the ACT, SAT, or both. A study plan like this will tell you what you’re going to study, on which days, and for how long. Our blog post with six ACT study tips is a great resource and can be applied to both ACT and SAT prep!
For this round of standardized testing in February and March, we’ve prepared two sample study calendars. The March SAT Calendar is meant for students who are only studying for the March 10th SAT. It contains about 5 hours of studying per week, with weekly focuses ranging from Math and the calculator/no-calculator sections to Reading and Writing with time set aside for vocabulary and essay writing.
Our second calendar is for students who are preparing for both the February 10th ACT and the March 10th SAT. This sample calendar assumes a focus on ACT preparation until the day of the test, since this test will be your highest priority in the weeks leading up to February 10th .
After this, however, your preparation will then switch to focus on SAT. Your preparation for the Reading and English sections on the ACT will carry over nicely to the SAT, which is why you’ll want to focus on honing your SAT math skills. This is why we’ve allocated about 205 minutes every week solely to working on math. If you want to learn more about the difference between the SAT and the ACT, and how studying for one can help prepare you for the other, read our article on the subject!
If these samples work with your priorities or schedule, we encourage you to print them out and tape them to your desk or planner. You can also print out our blank calendar and fill it in yourself!
We recommend you devise a study schedule that fits with your own commitments at home and school while maintaining about 5-7 hours of study per week. Besides sessions, we believe that there are two additional elements to any great study plan: practice tests and breaks! Breaks are just as important as any work you do, so make sure you take time to relax and take care of yourself.