Get Higher ACT and SAT Test Scores Over Holiday Break.
One thing you’ve probably noticed about high school is that there’s never enough time to do everything. You’ve probably noticed something else - everyone talks about getting high SAT Test and ACT Test scores so that they can get into their favorite colleges.
So, how is this supposed to work? You’re supposed to get incredible SAT and ACT scores even though you never have any time to study?
The key is using your free time wisely. And your holiday breaks and vacations are the perfect time to get ahead on your SAT and ACT test prep.
As a pro SAT / ACT tutor, I’ve put a lot of thought into how my students should use their holidays for test prep. Here are my top 8 tips on how to use your holidays for better SAT and ACT test scores!
Tip Number One is coming right up. Read on…
1. Pick Either the SAT Test or ACT Test to Focus On.
Here’s my first tip for effective test prep over the holidays: if you want a great SAT or ACT test score for your college and scholarship applications, it’s best to spend a little time deciding on which test would be best for you.
So, the first step of using your holiday break for higher SAT and ACT test scores is to make an educated decision about which test you will focus your efforts on.
For help deciding between the SAT and ACT tests, check out this article: How to Choose Between Taking the SAT Test or the ACT Test
We’ve also written before about whether the ACT Test is easier than the SAT Test, so be sure to catch up on that article if you haven’t read it already.
2. Take a Practice SAT or ACT Test to Find Your Weak Spots.
Now that you’ve decided on your preferred test, it’s time for a full-length, timed practice SAT or ACT test to find your weak spots. Take this practice test as soon as possible (right when your holiday break begins). This will give you more time to prepare, and discourage the spirit of procrastination and laziness.
Get the Official ACT Prep Book or the Official SAT Prep Book. Set aside a Saturday morning from about 8 AM until about noon. Take a full-length practice test under timed conditions. Then score your test and find your mistakes.
Keep a written journal of your weak spots. For example, if you miss a Geometry question about triangles, write “Triangles” in your SAT and ACT Prep journal. If you’re running out of time in ACT Reading, write “running out of time in ACT Reading.”
This journal will be an important part of your study plan. Practice SAT and ACT tests aren’t just for practice. It’s even more important to find your weak spots so that you know what topics to study next.
3. Find an SAT / ACT Test Prep Class or Tutor.
Holiday breaks are the perfect time to find a great SAT or ACT test prep class or tutor.
Never underestimate the value of a great teacher, especially when it comes to test prep. A good SAT / ACT prep tutor will save you precious time and energy during your busy school year. They can answer questions you didn’t even know you had! Plus, meeting with an expert is bound to increase your confidence.
Do your research on Google and Yelp for top-rated SAT and ACT test prep in your area. Call around to the places with top ratings and ask for a free consultation.
A great SAT and ACT test prep tutor will be able to diagnose your current level of test prep and offer immediate solutions for how to move forward. In other words, if your SAT / ACT Test Prep tutor doesn’t immediately offer you a clear plan to move forward, then they may not be the best choice.
Get your SAT or ACT test prep lessons started as soon as possible over the holiday break. You’ll want to use every possible minute, because when school starts again it’s going to be hard to find extra time and energy.
Please contact us if you’d like more advice on finding a great SAT or ACT Test Prep Tutor!
4. Plan Out Time for SAT and ACT Test Prep Over the Holiday.
Make a great study plan that addresses your weaknesses and prioritizes the sections that need the most help. For example, if your ACT English score is lower than your other sections by 5 points, it’s a sure sign that you need to prioritize studying the rules of English grammar.
Don’t spend too much time on the test sections you’re already strong in. You have limited time for SAT and ACT prep over the holidays, and the best use is to focus on your weak spots. It’s easy to brush up or review your strong points later. But, you’ll rarely get a good chance to sit down and learn a topic you didn’t feel good about.
With the help of your SAT / ACT Prep Tutor, it will be easy to put together an intelligent plan for your prep over the holidays. Your tutor should also make your study time more efficient by helping you master important concepts and techniques more rapidly than you could on your own.
5. Improve Your Weak Spots on the SAT and ACT Tests.
The most time-consuming part of SAT and ACT test prep is doing your homework, study, and practice to improve your weak spots.
There’s no shortcut around this part of test prep. You can’t get in shape by watching someone else lift weights. And, you can’t get a higher SAT or ACT test score unless you put in the hard work to earn it.
ACT Test Prep:
- How to Get a Higher Score on the ACT Test
- The Complete Guide to ACT English
- Top ACT Math Tips from a Pro ACT Tutor
- How to Get a Perfect Score on ACT Reading
- ACT Science Tips
- Top 9 ACT Essay Tips (From an Experienced ACT Tutor)
SAT Test Prep:
- SAT Prep at Home: Pro Tutor’s Guide
- Why I Love the New SAT Reading Section
- The Ultimate Guide to SAT Grammar
- Top SAT and ACT Math Mistakes to Avoid
- 4 Secrets to a Better SAT Essay
Start with these reference articles, then move on to targeted study and practice. Your SAT or ACT prep tutor will be able to help you hone in on weak spots and quickly master the topics you don’t understand.
6. Extra Free Reading and Vocabulary-Building for Higher SAT and ACT Test Scores.
If you’ve read my other articles on SAT and ACT test prep, you’ll quickly realize that I’m rabid about the value of free reading and independent vocabulary-building.
Listen - the SAT and ACT tests are extremely heavy on reading and vocab. Aside from the actual Reading tests themselves, you’ll also be called on to read long and wordy sections of Grammar assignments, Essay prompts, Science passages, and Math word problems.
Reading speed is vital to a great SAT or ACT test score. But, speed isn’t something you can force. Reading faster than your skill level will cause you to miss key details and misunderstand vital sections of the reading passages. Instead, you must naturally develop a faster reading speed with time and experience.
Your vocabulary is equally important. There’s nothing more frustrating or sad than seeing a student miss an easy question just because they didn’t know what the words meant.
The holiday break is the perfect time to spend an extra hour a day with a good book. I like to read in the morning (with breakfast) and at night (to help fall asleep). It’s easy to get an hour of reading, or even more. Also, I make sure I’m reading content that I’m really interested in. So, it doesn’t feel like homework. It’s actually quite enjoyable - I love to read!
This step won’t just help your SAT and ACT test scores - reading and vocabulary skills will serve you for a lifetime. Take this holiday break to spend some time on challenging personal reading!
7. Take a 2nd Practice SAT or ACT Test to Measure Your Improvement.
As the end of your holiday break approaches, set aside another morning for a second full-length, timed practice SAT or ACT test.
Just like last time, take a full-length test out of the Official ACT Prep Book or Official SAT Prep Book. After you finish your practice test, check your answers, score yourself, and then correct your mistakes.
Continue using your SAT / ACT Prep journal to keep track of your weak spots (and where you’ve improved). In business, there’s a saying: “What you measure is what improves.” So, measure and track your progress. The best way to do that is compare a “before” and “after” score on your practice tests.
Understand that this will not be the last practice SAT or ACT test you take! It took me 12 practice tests before my first perfect score on the SAT. These two practice tests are an important step forward, but they aren’t the end of your test prep.
Getting a high score on the SAT test or ACT test usually takes months of study. It’s a long road - that’s why it’s smart to start over your holiday break.
8. Spend Time Over the Holidays On Your College, Career, and Life Goals.
Never lose sight of why you’re using your holidays for higher SAT test and ACT test scores.
The purpose of higher test scores is NOT “to get into college.” No, the real purpose of improving your SAT and ACT scores is to give yourself a better life.
Better test scores leads to better educational opportunities. That education gives you a broader and better range of career opportunities. And, the wider and better career opportunities give you the chance to live a happy, meaningful, successful, and enjoyable life that you’re PROUD of.
One of the biggest mistakes I see my students make is when they go about their SAT and ACT test prep “because their parents are making them.”
But, when you own your SAT and ACT test prep - because it’s linked to your personal goals - then you’ll step up to the responsibility of studying and practicing. And your (parents / teachers / peer pressure) will have nothing to do with it. You’ll just be focused on building a better life for yourself, and becoming the best person you can be.
It’s much more rewarding than just grinding out practice tests. Understand that you are telling your life story with every day. Don’t just be another kid with high SAT scores. Instead, set your sights on a meaningful and unique life for yourself. Your SAT and ACT test scores are a small but important piece.
These tests scores might not “really matter” in 10 years, but the results of your test scores will continue to reverberate for the rest of your life. Make sure you’ve got a clear vision for your future, even though you’re still in high school.
Eventually that future will arrive. Make sure it’s a future that you’re excited about.
Review: Use Your Holiday Break for Higher SAT and ACT Test Scores.
By now you have a better idea of how to get a higher score on the ACT test and the SAT test over the holidays.
Most of my advice is pretty common-sense: find your weaknesses, find a good mentor, and practice hard. The thing is, most students know what they need to do - they’re just unwilling to put in the time and effort.
It’s really quite simple to get a higher SAT or ACT test score. It just takes time and effort.
Remember that you’re competing against other high school students and teenagers. If you can just push yourself a little harder than them… If you use your free time a little better than them… then you will end up winning that coveted spot at your favorite college.
Now, are you feeling better about your SAT and ACT test scores? If so, be sure to check out our other tips for maximizing your high school breaks and vacations!
Contact Us Today for Higher SAT and ACT Test Scores!
We’d love to help you use the holidays and your school year to get higher SAT and ACT test scores.
At Love the SAT Test Prep, we offer 1-on-1 SAT Prep Tutoring and ACT Prep Tutoring to students in Austin, TX. You can also join our small-group SAT Prep Classes and ACT Prep classes. For families who don’t live in Austin, we also offer Online SAT / ACT Prep Tutoring to students around the world.
Leave your comments and questions below the article, and contact us at Love the SAT Test Prep for higher SAT and ACT Test scores, starting today!