The SAT is inherently not fun. That was never the test makers intention. They didn’t choose fun passages for you to read and there are no silly math problems. But that doesn’t mean that studying for the SAT needs to be boring and drab like the test. Right, Mr. SAT Squirrel? The exact opposite it is true. You need to make studying fun so that you don’t mind doing it and you learn more.
The more fun you have, the more you will learn.
Fun Tip #1 Learn Vocabulary from Song Lyrics
I can’t take credit for this idea. I found Song Lyric Vocabulary Lists on vocabulary.com and thought it was perfect for us. It fits nicely into our mantra of having fun and learning. So start paying attention to the songs you listen to and make music an opportunity to learn new words. Any words that you don’t know look them up. If you aren’t sure how to spell the word, or can’t make out the word in the song, look up the lyrics online. Or better yet, use LyricPlay on Shazam to see the lyrics.
Fun Tip #2 Spend Time with The New York Times
I know what you are thinking, “Mr. SAT Squirrel, The New York Times is not fun. News is boring.” But he is not talking about reading the newspaper (although you would definitely benefit from it). The Times has a great blog called the Learning Network, full of fun resources for test prep. In particular, they have a section perfect for studying and fun, called Fill-in. Each week, a small section of an article is chosen and 10 – 20 words are removed. The game is to read through and put the words back where they belong—hence, fill-in the blank. This is another great way to practice reading for context, learn new words, and have fun.
Fun Tip #3 Crosswords that Teach
Staying with the theme of games and The New York Times, crosswords are great ways to review concepts and learn new ones, especially for math. Instead of making flashcards for math facts, why not solve a crossword on mathematics, geometry, or algebra? Instead of studying grammar terms in a test prep book, why not solve a crossword? I completely agree. Nothing is wrong with doing a crossword. Obviously, this will not be the only thing you do to study, but it is a way to break up the more grueling parts of studying and do a little review.
Fun Tip #4 Play Games with Words
More games, more fun, more learning—sometimes you just want to do a crossword puzzle or play a matching game. There are a few websites that now provide users with flashcards and interactive games based on the lists that users create. Magoosh has an awesome set of SAT flashcards. Quizlet is notable for these reasons. But I want to recommend another similar service at dictionary.com called Word Dynamo. They have a whole section dedicated to SAT preparation. They have sets on the SAT Reading section, vocabulary words to learn, and even a section on Writing. Again, these fun alternatives to your test prep materials are just that—fun alternatives. These resources should not replace your test prep software or book. But they provide a little respite from practice problems and rote memorization.
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About Kevin Rocci
Kevin helps Magoosh students by making sure none of their questions go unanswered. A UC Santa Cruz graduate with a BA in Politics and a minor in Film, he loves education, bluegrass, the Sierras, and the Pacific. The vastness of the universe does not deter him from hoping to meet an intelligent life form from another planet one day.
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