3 Ways to Strengthen Your Time Management Skills ACT, SAT | College Admission Manual


It goes without saying that time management is a crucial skill in any timed assessment. This is especially true for the ACT and SAT, the two college entrance exams that require students to quickly go through multiple sections. Consider, for example, the ACT English test, which allows students to spend an average of just 36 seconds on each question.

While there are strategies for saving time on specific ACT and SAT question types, there are also exercises to sharpen your time management skills in general. Below are three end-of-summer activities that can help you develop your time management skills for ACT and SAT:

  • The “How long is a minute?” ” exercise.
  • Brain training applications.
  • Socially distanced races with friends.

The question “How long is a minute?” ” Exercise

Our perception of time can vary enormously depending on our state of mind and how we perceive the activity in which we are currently engaged. You can probably understand the feeling of losing track of time when you are focusing on something you love. In psychology, this is called “state of flux”. On the other hand, you probably also know how much time seems to stretch out when working on something that you perceive to be tedious.

The “How long is a minute?” »Exercise can help you measure time better. With this activity, after pressing the start button, press the “go” button, wait without counting what you think is a minute to go and then press the stop button. The tool will show how much time has actually passed and you can try again as many times as you want.

You might be surprised to learn how out of date your internal clock is – a sign that your timing skills need some attention before test day.

Brain training apps

So-called brain training apps – like Elevate and Peak – can help you get used to working under the pressure of standardized, timed tests. These applications, the basic versions of which are accessible for free, require users to solve a variety of problems or puzzles in a limited time.

In addition to tracking player speed, brain training apps are designed to assess and refine areas such as memory and reading comprehension – things you may find helpful on ACT or SAT.

Brain training apps are both educational and entertaining, which is why they are so popular. Plus, their accessibility makes them a convenient way to practice time management, among other skills, when and where the opportunity arises.

However, it should be noted that the effectiveness of these applications in stimulating basic cognitive functions is highly questionable. What these apps can certainly do is train you to work faster than you could otherwise. The bonus is that you can improve in other areas as well, like vocabulary, which correlate with higher scores on college admissions tests.

Social distance races with friends

Another fun way to train to perform well under pressure is to complete complex academic races with friends. These races, which must always adhere to coronavirus safety precautions, can take various forms.

One option is to design a race with your friends. Select specific tasks that you would all benefit from practicing. The race might involve answering as many ACT or SAT questions as possible in a given time, or it might involve solving a series of puzzles, Sudoku puzzles, or other puzzles.

Understand that time management is just one of the many skills that lead to success on ACT and SAT. In addition to possessing the relevant skills for the test, candidates for the ACT and SAT tests are expected to master the content of the exam, which is accomplished through careful study and practice. These three time management activities should be used in conjunction with, and not as a replacement for, traditional test preparation efforts.


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