How to stay focused when studying for the SAT or ACT

alarm clock

It can be hard to stay motivated when you're studying for the SAT or ACT. You'd probably much rather be playing video games, hanging out with friends, or just doing anything besides studying. Here are some tips for staying focused:


Schedule time to study. You don't need to study night and day for the SATs or ACTs. Pick 4-6 hours a week and make sure you really focus on studying during that time.

Designate your study spot. Finding a place to study away from distractions will help you stay focused. In your home, go to a room that you don't normally use. If you can, find a place where you won't be distracted with the TV or other noises. If you can't find a quiet place where you live, use a library, coffee shop, or even a friend's house nearby as your designated place to study.

Time yourself. Put an alarm for the time you should be done. That way you might take away some of the temptation to keep looking at the time and focus on your studies. Of course, if you're taking a practice test, you'll need the alarm to time the sections.


Vary what you study. You'll get bored if you study the same way all the time, so mix it up. One week, focus on the reading section, and math the next. One day you could focus on doing practice problems, and another day you could review concepts you need to work on.


Take a break. If you study for more than two hours at a time, it's likely that your mind will wander. It's ok to take a 10-20 minute break to rejuvenate and re-focus. Have a snack, watch some TV, take a walk around the block, or call a friend to chat. Just make sure that you return to your studies!


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