Periods when you have the most flexibility in your schedule are when you need to get the most clear about your goals.
Get clear about what you want to do.
Get clear about why you want to do it.
Becoming clear in these two ways will help you set specific, actionable goals and have the motivation to complete them.
Once you have a specific goal of what to do—as opposed to thinking to yourself, “I should probably do some test prep this afternoon”—it becomes much easier to take productive action.
Knowing why you’re doing the action step puts fuel in your metaphorical gas tank. As opposed to feeling burdened or resentful, you feel empowered to do something that matters.
If you need help figuring out what to do for your test prep, refer to my One Month SAT Prep Plan or One Month ACT Prep Plan for specific steps you might take in the last couple of weeks before the official test. You’ll almost certainly want to do some combination of content review, practice sections, reviewing completed practice sections, and full practice tests.
(Reminder: my One Month Prep Plans are given to you when you sign up for email updates, so if you’re a subscriber look back to your confirmation email; if you aren’t yet subscribed, you may sign up here.)
Try to keep your goals ambitious but attainable. Even if you brainstorm a list of everything you could do, choose one or more specific goals for any given day so that you have a specific action step.
The last ingredient in making the most of these couple weeks is to allow yourself to take breaks—even an entire day off. Sometimes, when you are really worn down, the best thing you can do is put the to-do list aside and simply take care of yourself. Go to a yoga class. Read a book. Go to the park. Take a nice long nap.
Alternatively, if the weather is nice, you might even take a practice section or review a previously completed practice test in a quiet area of a park. No, it won’t mimic official testing conditions; and no, it isn’t the same thing as relaxing with friends. But it will give you an opportunity to be outside and feel productive, which to me is a win-win. (If you’re going to do a full practice test, I recommend keeping that inside so that you can better approximate testing conditions.)
Knowing that you have permission to enjoy spring will make the times that you prep for the upcoming test feel more doable and enjoyable.
This is a formula you can take with you into summer. If you want additional guidance on getting things done over the summer, you can check out this blog and video I recorded at the beginning of last summer.
Best wishes for the home stretch—keep up the good work!
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