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Expert Tips: 8 Ways to Stay Motivated for Test Prep

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.


English Teacher Katie Weisman

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


English Exam Prep Coordinator Rachel Erwin

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


English Teacher Mac Porter

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


English Teacher Ashley Dorian

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


English Teacher Chris Cullen

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


Director of Exam Prep Tony Kim

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


Math Exam Prep Coordinator Pranav Gupta

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


Math Teacher Matthew Olive

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

What’s Next?


Get expert guidance with our SAT prep courses, guaranteed to build your confidence and increase your scores! To schedule your free consultation, click here.

For students preparing for the ACT, check out our innovative ACT Connect Program. ACT Connect is a self-paced lecture series that combines engaging virtual lessons with ACT experts, practice exercises and assignments, and practice ACT exams to sharpen your ACT subject skills and test-taking strategies. Click here to learn more about ACT Connect!


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MEK Review

MEK Review is the top learning center in North Jersey, dedicated to helping students of all ages begin an incredible success story. With our guidance, students have gained acceptances into the best schools in the country, earned top test scores, prepared for difficult admission tests, and transformed into their best selves in the classroom. To find your perfect solution, explore our programs or book your free consultation with an expert counselor!


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