Top Test Prep Motivation Tips
Prepping for challenging college admissions exams is tough.
It can feel long, boring, and tedious. However, keeping your momentum up throughout the process is key to doing well on the big day. Whenever your enthusiasm flags, persistence is extra-important for pushing through to your target scores, and eventually, your dream school!
Our expert teachers at MEK Review share their best tips for staying motivated while preparing for your SAT or ACT exams.
Motivation Tip #1. Know your ultimate goal.
“Many students come in with just a vague idea of their target score or they sometimes have no idea at all. This can definitely lower your motivation! Take a few minutes to talk to your MEK teachers. Read helpful articles (such as What’s a Good SAT or ACT Score?). Or do a few minutes of college research to decide on a specific score goal. Once you know your ultimate goal is and exactly why it’s your goal, it’s so much easier to stay laser-focused and highly motivated during prep.”
— Katie Weisman, English Teacher
Motivation Tip #2. Pace yourself.
“It’s a marathon, not a sprint. That means you have to put in consistent and sustained effort throughout. If you try to wait till the end of the process to be motivated, it will too little, too late. Focus on meeting smaller goals as you work your way to your test date, which will keep you motivated to meet your larger goal score.”
— Rachel Erwin, Exam Prep Coordinator
Motivation Tip #3. Take pride in your journey.
“Recognize and take pride in the positive steps you take. Test preparation can be daunting, tedious, and mind-numbing, so allow yourself to feel good when you take a step forward, even if it is a small one. A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step: enjoy the steps.”
— Mac Porter, English Teacher
Motivation Tip #4. Don’t forget the bigger picture.
“Remember that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and that your test prep will eventually end. Also, it’s important to remember the big picture! This test can be your ticket to a really great future.”
— Ashley Dorian, English Teacher
Motivation Tip #5. Apply what you’ve learned.
“Smartly put the work in – applying learned strategies while taking simulated tests as opposed to simply just taking those tests – and your scores will undoubtedly improve.”
— Chris Cullen, English Teacher
Motivation Tip #6. Set short term goals.
“I always remind them that they can always do better. It’s extremely important for students to have a short term goal/milestone at all times to be motivated for the next step.”
— Tony Kim, Director of Exam Prep
Motivation Tip #7. Let your future motivate you.
“Don’t lose sight of your SCORE. Your goal score and how that relates to your future interests (colleges, careers, etc) should be a very strong source of motivation. Also, preparation with maximum effort reduces preparation time, so you can save time (and money).”
— Pranav Gupta, Exam Prep Coordinator
Motivation Tip #8. Small victories count.
“Focus on and celebrate smaller victories. Building up your score through topics or strategies will not grow your score overnight, but these small increases will improve your overall score after time.”
— Matthew Olive, Math Teacher
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