My yoga teacher instructs us that with skill comes comfort. People who like reading can read for hours. People who like biking can bike for hours. And, the more they bike, the more they enjoy biking. Where does that leave the people who don't like biking? They don't bike. And the people who don't like reading? Avoid reading. Seems congruent, right? But, what that also means is that the people who don't like reading or biking, in avoiding reading or biking, don't improve. While sometimes that's fine, it can also lead to an imbalance. If I swore off cooking because I didn't like it, I would never know the satisfaction of preparing a meal for my friends and watching them enjoy it. If I swore off reading, I would miss out on infinite stories and thought provoking articles.
What's the flip side of this equation? The more you do something, the better you get, the more you enjoy doing it.
In high school, I did not particularly enjoy running. I was always among the slowest runners in my class. Because I didn't think I was good at it and because of the physical discomfort I experienced while running, I didn't like it. Because I didn't like it, I didn't do it. Because I didn't do it, I didn't get better at it.
But, in the summer before my senior year of college, I got it in my head that I wanted to start running. So, I started slowly: seven minutes on the treadmill at the gym at 6.3 miles per hour. Gradually, I added time and distance, until I was running for thirty minutes at a time. As I grew comfortable running for longer, I started to increase in speed. Then, in the spring of my senior year, I completed a 5K in 24 minutes—way faster than I every thought possible for myself. And, I had fun!
In that year, running had become an activity to which I looked forward. I enjoyed the challenge of pushing myself to run faster on the treadmill. I enjoyed the peace of listening to music as I jogged on the road. I felt great after my runs and enjoyed setting time aside to do something for myself.
Chances are, you haven't been so extreme as to "swear off" any of the skills required of you on your standardized tests. You read, do math, check grammar, and interpret charts because these are skills required of you as a student. However, you probably do prefer one section to another and have more "fun" while doing it.
Personally, I love math. I could do math section after math section and keep pushing myself to improve. But, if I were prepping for the SAT or ACT, I would be doing myself a disservice because chances are I am already good at the math—that's why I like it so much. I would be better off spending my time on the reading section so that I can improve my skills there. And, as my skills improved, so, too, would my feelings about performing reading sections. It would become a fun challenge to see if I could do a little bit better than I had the day before.
While I'm certainly not suggesting that you completely neglect any section that you are already good at, I do encourage you to make sure you are balanced in your test prep, and that includes practicing the sections that you aren't as good at and don't necessarily have as much fun while doing.
At the end of a long day of school, maybe all you feel like you can motivate to do is the section you are good at, but really try to buckle down and work on one of the sections more in need of your attention.
At the beginning of every week, set up a training schedule for yourself just as you would a workout routine. Before your feelings can dictate which sections you work on in the moment, designate for yourself which sections you will practice. Make sure you've given yourself ample time with what your scores suggest are your weaker sections. They might even become an acquired taste.
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