Online tools that can support ACT, SAT Prep | College Admissions Handbook
When we consider suitable digital tools for SAT and ACT prep, some resources immediately come to mind: online practice tests, flash cards, and more. But a host of other technology tools are also available to SAT and ACT candidates, and you could benefit greatly by using some of them while studying.
Diversify your SAT and ACT test preparation and maximize your study efficiency by adding these online resources to your routine:
- Focal aids that allow you to study without distraction
- Tools that encourage effective time management
- Electronic flashcards that use spaced repetition
- Video tutorials with explanations and examples
Focal aids that allow you to study without distraction
Most study sessions begin with good productivity intentions. Unfortunately, students are surrounded by seemingly endless stimuli that can distract from this goal. Whether you’re distracted by outside noises or your pet, or just too tempted to refresh a social media app, you might find it hard to stay focused on the task at hand.
One of the easiest ways to reduce distractions is to turn on your phone’s “do not disturb” mode. This feature disables all notifications, calls and SMS from the app as long as your phone remains locked. Once you unlock it, you’ll see – and possibly hear – all notifications as you normally do. With most cell phone models, you can quickly activate the non-disturb option from the main drop-down menu.
If your cell phone is a particularly big distraction for you, consider using an app like OFFTIME that lets you turn off notifications, restrict or limit access to certain apps, track your phone activity and more. again. A full version of the app for Androids is free on Google Play with in-app purchases, and a version for Apple iOS devices costs 99 cents.
Another option is to purchase a cell phone “jail” available on Amazon and elsewhere. Once your phone is locked inside, have someone keep the key for you until your study session is over.
Tools that encourage effective time management
Poor time management is a problem that most high school students encounter at some point. They must frequently juggle test prep activities, regular academic commitments, and responsibilities around the house, making effective time management essential.
The Pomodoro Technique is a proven and simple strategy that can help you get the most out of your time. It involves setting a timer for 25 minutes, working effectively during that time, and then taking a break for about five minutes. Note that taking a break is not a suggestion but a required step in the process.
The Pomodoro technique can be repeated as many times as necessary, although students should know how long they can realistically work before fatigue sets in. To get started, use a traditional timer, the one in your oven or mobile phone, or the free timer. virtual on TomatoTimer.
Time management is closely related to task management, another skill students need to hone when preparing for tests. Consider downloading Remember the Milk, a free app that lets you set and categorize reminders in multiple ways, including due date, priority, and subject. With such apps, you don’t have to worry about handwritten reminders that might get lost or forgotten.
Electronic flashcards that use spaced repetition
Spaced repetition is a learning technique that involves electronic flashcards presented according to several algorithms. Flashcards that contain new and difficult content are shown more often than those with familiar and easy material. When an incorrect answer is given, the flash card is flagged for more frequent review.
Spaced repetition is particularly useful for learning vocabulary and formulas, which are essential for success on both the ACT and SAT. Explore Anki and Brainscape, two websites that let you create your own flashcards, access other people’s flashcards, and study by spaced repetition.
Video tutorials with explanations and examples
For explanations of specific concepts, question types, and testing techniques, YouTube is a powerful resource. For concise math lessons, you might benefit from following the Mathademics channel, while grammar girl offers original insights into writing and grammar topics such as punctuation marks, commonly confused words, and misplaced modifiers.
And, of course, many of the videos are specifically focused on ACT and SAT prep strategies. One important thing to note is that the ACT and SAT overlap quite a bit, so if you find videos useful while you study for one test, the lessons will usually transfer over to the other as well.
Other online resources and applications
Don’t forget to take advantage of the resources listed above, as well as more familiar options such as online practice tests.
The official creators of the ACT and SAT offer free sample exams, a great place to start. You can locate additional drive issues by searching for “ACT” or “SAT” in your cell phone’s app store. Many apps, such as ACT Online Prep for Android and Apple devices, exist in this space. Some even target specific sections of each test.
Varsity Tutors, the company behind the College Admissions Playbook blog, also offers free ACT and SAT classes you can attend online.
As you prepare for the ACT or SAT, remember that these virtual tools can help you optimize performance on test day.