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Chris Lele

5 Most Insane Ways to Study for the SAT

insane study


1. Mental Math Exercise

I like doing pull-ups and push-ups. Lots of them. This allows me to also flex my mental math muscles.  How? Well, I’ll do different number of sets, 22, 17, 13, etc., and I have to add them up. Of course it doesn’t matter what exercise you do, jumping jacks are good, but if you do many sets, just adding up the numbers will give you a good mental math work out.

To make sure you are accurate, write down the number you do on a whiteboard or even your laptop. Add them up while you do your exercise sets, heck, multiply them if you want a super challenge. Then, using a calculator see if your mental math total added up. If not, hey, you still got a solid workout, both mental and physical.

2. A Passage Upon Rising

Believe it or not, your brain is primed for learning as soon as you wake up. Think about it: the first thing many people grab is the smartphone; they are absorbing information as soon as their eyes open.

Now this will take discipline, but for a week leading up to the SAT, have an SAT prep book by your bedside (just don’t use it as a pillow). Do one reading passage, answering the 10 or so questions. The process will take a mere 15 minutes, but over those seven days you’ll notice a steady improvement in your ability to focus. Come test day, you’ll be tearing through all five SAT reading passages of that first section.

3. A Section a Day Keeps a Retake Away

Doing an entire section upon waking up is a little bit ambitious, but if you can find about 45-60 minutes at some point during the day, take a section. If you have another 15 or so minutes, grade the section and go over the questions you missed. Do this for one week leading up to the test; you’ll improve not only at content but also at your test taking abilities.

4. “Out Magoosh” a Friend

If both you and a friend use Magoosh, challenge each other. You can both do the same number of questions in a specific area. For instance, set 10 questions to difficult and see who gets the most correct in the least amount of time.

5. An SAT Lullaby

What better way to fall asleep than lying in bed and thinking about SAT?  Don’t sit there for hours obsessing about the test, but do think of the five most important things you learned. It could be the difference between independent and dependent clauses, the formula for the total degree measures of a polygon, or the reason you missed a reading comprehension question.

Learning studies suggest that our brains are more primed to learn information that we learn right before we sleep. This is of course counterintuitive, since our brains are also so tired. Yet, it seems that the fact we thought about something last is important for retention. Another win is rehearsal, meaning when we think about what we’ve recently learned without having the text handy. This forces our brains to think back to the moment we learned something, further reinforcing that memory. What better way to fall asleep!

About Chris Lele

Chris Lele is the GRE and SAT Curriculum Manager (and vocabulary wizard) at Magoosh Online Test Prep. In his time at Magoosh, he has inspired countless students across the globe, turning what is otherwise a daunting experience into an opportunity for learning, growth, and fun. Some of his students have even gone on to get near perfect scores. Chris is also very popular on the internet. His GRE channel on YouTube has over 8 million views.

You can read Chris's awesome blog posts on the Magoosh GRE blog and High School blog!

You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook!

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