Taking practice tests is a good way to check on your study methods. If you have been studying for the
SAT consistently and your scores don’t improve over time, you may need to change your study methods.
Approach your changes scientifically. Try one or two changes at a time to discover what works. Do you
feel more focused? Are you retaining more material? Do your sessions feel more productive? These are
questions you should ask yourself to determine whether or not you are using the best study methods for
Try studying in a new space. When you find a space that works for you, use that space for every study
session. Using the same space when you study will signal to your brain that it is time to focus and learn.
Try studying for more or less time or at different times during the day. Sometimes studying too long will
prevent your brain from retaining important information. You should also try to space your study well. Cal
Newport suggests that one day is the optimal spacing between study sessions. So instead of studying for
3 hours once a week, try studying for 30 minutes everyday.
If you are still studying with your phone notifications clambering for your attention, stop. Turn off your
phone and hide it so you what be tempted to look at it. 30 minutes of phone free study time is much more
productive than hours of interrupted studying. Don’t forget to turn off music or the tv as well.
Computers and Apps can offer some very helpful study tools. However, some research suggests that
people do their best learning with pencil and paper. If you find that you are not retaining information, turn
of the technology and start making your own flashcards and working out word problems on paper.
When you don’t feel like your study is working to improve your scores, evaluate what might be holding
you back. Don't be afraid to try new methods and techniques. The more practice tests you can take the
better understanding you will have of how effective your study methods are. When you are willing to make
changes and study productively, you can improve your SAT scores.
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