February 2018, Issue 19
“Organizing for Test Efficiency”
by Homeschool.com’s Rebecca Kochenderfer
With standardized test prep thrown into the mix of everything else that homeschooling requires – organization is vital! Some may be better at this than others, but we all must do it to some extent. Adding in standardized test prep materials may make it seem insurmountable. Getting a handle on this now will keep you and your student from feeling overwhelmed. But, where do you begin?
If you have the space, having a designated bookcase (or even a shelf on an existing bookcase) is ideal because it keeps your materials separate from regular school materials. Students should keep a separate notebook or binder specifically for their SAT/ACT studying. All materials should be readily accessible; you don’t want your student scrambling to find study materials every time he or she sits down to study. Arranging these things in advance will save valuable time.
There’s no doubt about it: studying for the SAT and the ACT takes time. In fact, studying for these high-stakes tests can take anywhere from several months to a year – or longer. You can help your teen be successful by creating a study schedule. Working around things such as semester exams, midterms, research papers, and other assignments, try to come up with a time your student can block off each week. For some families, the weekends are open to test prep while other families find that carving off some time most evenings works best. Whichever scenario works best for your family, make sure your teen sticks to it. Consistency truly is the key.
Now that your student has his or her materials together and has developed a time-management plan, where will studying take place? It’s best if you can create an area of your home that’s free from distractions and that allows enough work space for test prep books, paper, pencils, a timer, and a calculator. The idea is to simulate the test-taking atmosphere as best as you can. Keep the area free of clutter so your student can focus on studying and be sure not to allow friends or siblings in the study space. Also, make sure your student has access to at least a couple of drawers for extra materials he or she might make use of.
To some extent, studying for the SAT and the ACT is a matter of staying organized. Your student should organize his or her study materials, time, and space. Even if you don’t have a Pinterest-worthy study space, making the most of what you do have will go a long way toward helping your student be successful.