How can high school students prepare for the SAT or ACT during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Friday, April 17, 2020

The novel coronavirus outbreak has resulted in the cancelation of on-campus high school classes in California and the rest of the nation for the rest of the academic school year, among the suspension of any event related to large social gatherings. Standardized college entrance exams—the SAT and the ACT—are not exempt. How might you prepare for these exams as you prepare to apply for college or university?

The new coronavirus pandemic, that results in the COVID-19 disease, has changed all aspects of daily life. The U.S. government has mandated that establishments close to slow the spread of the coronavirus and minimize the number of COVID-19 cases as much as possible. California governor Gavin Newsom has also been quick to act with regards to pandemic responses. The pandemic and the measures taken to fight against are leaving many of us spending a lot of time at home, more than what we are used to.

The global public health crisis has prompted the postponement of the April 4 ACT to June 13 and the cancellation of the May 2 SAT.

California high school students preparing for these college entrance exams may wonder how the current situation might affect their standardized test prep routine.

If you are a high school student looking to apply for colleges and universities and have found that you have had insufficient time, you might find yourself with extra time on your hands now that the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in exam date postponement. Students will not be getting another chance like this to dedicate even more extra time to ACT and SAT studies.

Do you find yourself getting distracted more easily? Don’t worry. You are not alone.
Students who are studying for the ACT and SAT at home report getting sidetracked more easily. Anything from family members, pets, the TV and other things can easily become distractions. We recommend that you seek to reduce any distractions as much as possible by finding a private area and then communicating to those around you that you wish to be undisturbed.

Cabin fever may become a reality for you. Just remember that you have the option of taking your test prep outside as long as you are not breaking local, federal or state rules with regards to social distancing. Never endanger your health or anyone else’s. If you have one, your home’s front or backyard can offer the kind of fresh air and change of scenery that your body might be looking for, as can a balcony or similar area.

What’s another tip? Stay productive by taking brief but frequent breaks! The Pomodora Technique, for example, suggests students take a five-minute break after every 25 minutes of uninterrupted study time. You should move your body by stretching or walking around a little.

How can you try to remain positive with all that’s going on? With all the alarming stories and statistics that are constantly being published, it can be easy to find yourself distracted and scared by all the information about COVID-19. While it is smart to stay updated with prevention methods and government instructions, it is probably best to limit screen time.

There are many ways to accomplish this. Decide on a fixed number of sources you will read or watch that day. For instance, from 3:00pm to 3:30pm each day or only in the early morning.

To help you prevent insomnia or nightmares, it may be best to refrain from viewing coronavirus-related information right before going to bed. Looking at your cellphone is a constant temptation. You might want to consider using an app such as SPACE that will help you limit your screen time.

Outside assistance can help you stay accountable to SAT or ACT prep. If you have been studying with an in-person tutor, it is probable that your instruction has been postponed or moved online. Take advantage of the online education options out there! This can help you out a lot. Engaging in social distancing practices in order to help slow down the COVID-19 spread does not mean you have to go it alone.

For example, you might be able to connect with classmates for free over FaceTime or Zoom to study together, as well as take advantage of free resources like Virtual School Day, which offers live online education classes for k-12 students. This includes classes such as ACT and SAT test prep, and study halls that allow students to refine their skill in core academic subjects.

Our final word? 

Distance learning is the safest way for everyone to continue his or her test prep endeavors. If you have reservations about it, know that online learning platforms and students do many of the same activities they would normally do in a physical classroom. For instance, upload and make changes to educational materials, chat back and forth, raise one’s hand virtually and more.

The COVID-19 outbreak has turned daily life quite a bit around, but this does not have to affect your productivity. Make use of this time to advance your preparation for the ACT or SAT test at home. This will help you get into your dream college or university!

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