The Value of Test Prep, Part 2: 3 Steps Toward Stronger Self-Discipline

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Whether prepping for the SAT or ACT, an AP exam, or completing schoolwork, discipline is an acquired skill that not only gives students an academic edge, but ultimately sustains them for a lifetime. Many students might not realize that they already have a command of discipline. For instance, being part of a sports team certainly demands discipline. Most students take seriously their commitment to regular practices, learning plays and strategies, working out in the off-season, game prep, and more. Without discipline, a team can’t rightfully expect a winning season. The same is true in academics.

With that in mind, consider the following ways students can make discipline the centerpiece of their test prep strategy:

1.     Prioritize

Self-discipline has been famously described as “the difference between choosing what you want now and choosing what you want most.” In a similar vein, proper self-discipline requires students to think critically about their agenda, to determine how and when their time is best spent. It may be helpful for students to write out all due dates and deadlines, along with their associated tasks, in order to create a prioritized test prep schedule.

2.     Be Good to Your Body

Disciplining the mind toward test prep is a venture best aided by disciplining the body, too. Studying is optimized by the endorphins released during exercise. Likewise, staying active is a natural stress reliever, which makes it easier for students to enact discipline when the time comes. Nutrition also plays a pivotal role in brain and body preparedness. We’ve all heard of “brain food,” and it’s true that certain food items can boost clarity and recall, such as eggs, dark chocolate, fish, and even caffeine (in moderation).

3.     Create a Routine

Self-discipline is far easier to employ if a student is grounded in a regular test prep routine. In addition to crafting a prioritized study schedule, it’s useful to curate a routine that can be followed repeatedly, so that positive test prep habits are cemented and reinforced over time. What’s more, creating a routine puts students in the driver’s seat, ensuring that their test prep approach is tailored to their learning style, needs, and individual goals.

4.     Take Cues from a Coach

A surefire way to instill self-discipline in students is to enroll them in a small test prep class or pair them with a one-on-one tutor. Guided test prep gives students the tools, resources, and framework to establish their own good habits and routines. With built-in accountability and structure, one-on-one tutoring and small group courses work as incubators for developing self-discipline.

At Achieve Academics, we offer a variety of small group classes and one-on-one tutoring services that not only boost your student’s SAT, ACT, and/or AP performance, but also provide personalized strategies so that students stay engaged and proactive throughout their academic career.