Studying for the SATs can leave students stressed, which can then affect the results of their test. When they don’t feel confident about their capabilities, it could result from several small things going wrong, like:
- missing a key concept in geometry class that led to failure in grasping subsequent concepts
- failing to keep track of assignments due to disorganized notebooks
- doing poorly during exams because of habitual last minute reviews instead of studying every day
Considering the usual causes, the stress students feel could have been avoided with simple mindset adjustments and good habit development.
This means, whether studying at home in Hawaii or taking SAT prep classes in Dubai, a student can also boost his chances of passing the exams by honing these six habits:
1. Managing time wisely
Many people struggle with time management – students most especially. This usually becomes apparent when their assignments become more complex.
However, a student doesn’t need to be a planning expert to be successful in his studies. What he needs is to learn the simplest-yet-most-effective time management habits.
First is the use of a planner.
While the act of writing down assignments may seem very simple, it actually serves as the key for ensuring that all schoolwork is accomplished on time, every time. It also lets them get a better sense of when they should do certain things, allowing them to make sound decisions on how to efficiently make use of their time after school hours.
Even just the act of writing something on paper should be enough to trigger a chain of events leading to the timely accomplishment of projects and homework.
Setting small, easy-to-accomplish goals also works.
Using their planner or agenda book, students should write specific but smaller goals instead of broad and generalized ones like “study for the math test.” Break that example into something more manageable and specific, like “work on fractions worksheet for 15 minutes” or something similar.
The key is to get something done – no matter how small – to get the ball rolling.
And, of course, they also need to pay more attention to the clock.
Getting a good grasp of time will help students estimate how long the tasks will take and how much time should be redirected from unproductive activities. Even the simple act of wearing a watch or checking the clock regularly could do wonders for time management.
2. Keeping materials organized
Too often, academic issues root from a lack of routine and disorganization. In contrast, successful students tend to have everything they need – prepared and organized for any seat work, project, or test.
Again, it’s all about the little things, like:
- having a notebook for every subject
- bringing extra pens, pencils, and highlighters for backup
- removing anything unnecessary from their bags
Staying organized also means following a routine consistently every day. This may include preparing everything they need for school before going to bed or even color-coding and labeling binders and notebooks to make them easier to find.
3. Distributing tasks to avoid cramming
Many students get that sense of urgency when a deadline is fast approaching. Thinking that this would help them remember what was taught in class, they often cram information into their brains the night before a test.
But while it might pay off in the short-term, this habit doesn’t help when the information needs to be learned on a deeper level.
Not many students enjoy studying as it is. Just imagine what powering through a study marathon could do. Instead of helping, it could only make matters worse.
Distributing the work and dividing them into smaller chunks of activities will make studying easier to manage. This so-called “distributed practice” or “spaced repetition” is just the same as studying bit by bit every day.
According to research, students who use distributed practice have a higher chance of doing better during exams compared to cramming everything all at once.
In other words, a student who studies 20 minutes over the course of three different days will do better than someone who crammed everything within an hour of the same night right before the test.
The reason behind this is not repetition but the fact that the student who did better had slept after learning the information. This gave his brain time to consolidate the new knowledge into long-term memory.
When cramming, a student only regurgitates the information he learned at a superficial level. In short, it’s just lying on the surface of his short-term memory, which can easily fade.
Keeping the knowledge in long-term memory entails deeper learning, allowing a student to tap on it even if the test is done a bit later, like the SATs.
4. Actively participating in class
Students need to establish a habit of raising their hand and actively taking part in class, though even most adults shy away from speaking up in front of other people. This would allow them to understand the material better, and potentially get higher SAT diagnostic test scores.
Aside from the fact that teachers adore students who participate, doing so also ensures that students retain more of what they learn in the long run. This also helps them get a more positive outlook on studying and education.
5. Accepting that mistakes can happen
Every new information comes with a learning curve for anyone, not just students. However, many highly driven youngsters end up forgetting that nobody is expected to be perfect during their first try.
There is something called a “learning process,” after all, with strong emphasis on the second word.
More importantly, students also need to know when to reach out for help rather than frustrate themselves further because their pride got in the way. It is important to remember that teachers and parents won’t expect perfection during the first attempt, no matter what subject it may be.
After all, people invented homework to enhance students’ skills, and making mistakes is perfectly okay.
6. Sleeping and getting enough rest
As mentioned earlier, sleep commits the information people learn to long-term memory. But that’s not the only thing it does.
A habit of getting enough and good-quality sleep allows students to be more alert in class. It is also crucial for their development and allows the brain to recharge to take on another day’s worth of learning.
In general, teenagers are recommended to get at least eight to ten hours of sleep every night, while younger children need more than that.
Good Habits for Great Results
Good habits learned over time can do wonders for learning.
These six habits have been proven to be effective in helping students perform their best during the SAT and other tests they may take during their academic life.