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Prepping for the SAT or ACT two to three months before the test date can feel a little overwhelming. That’s why parents ask us all the time how their students can get a jumpstart on test prep freshman and sophomore years of high school. There are certainly ways to prep early, and anyone can do it. Your student can practice these skills without even cracking open a test study guide or practice book.

Reading Comprehension

Reading is a skill used throughout life, not just on the reading comprehension section of the SAT or ACT. The more you read, the faster and easier it becomes to comprehend what you read. Although there are specific categories for SAT and ACT reading passages, including history/social studies, science, and literature, you can read any genre and improve your reading comprehension skills. Reading at least 30 minutes a day increases intelligence, improves sleep, strengthens social connections, and enhances career opportunities.

Writing

Like reading, writing is a skill you will most likely use the rest of your life. Remember learning those five steps in the writing process? First, pre-writing, then drafting, followed by revision, editing, and finally, publishing. While this process does take time, you can improve your writing by following each of these steps every time you write an essay or paper. And like reading, the more you write the better writer you become. Keeping a journal is a great way to practice those writing skills on a daily basis.

Vocabulary

A strong vocabulary will improve your reading comprehension and writing skills, as well as your SAT or ACT score. A large vocabulary is particularly helpful when answering word choice and vocabulary in context questions on the SAT. You can increase your vocabulary by reading often and looking up words you don’t know. Using a thesaurus when writing provides a great opportunity to improve your vocabulary. Crossword puzzles and games like Scrabble offer fun ways to practice your vocabulary.

Math

In high school math class, especially Algebra I and II, pay attention and take time to really understand the math concepts. Your grade may be cushioned by homework completion points, but if you do not fully grasp the math itself, it will come back to haunt you in future math classes and on standardized tests like the SAT or ACT.