While standardized tests certainly aren’t perfect, they are intended to test general skills and knowledge gained in high school. As opposed to learning the tricks and traps of the SAT or ACT, try strengthening reading comprehension skills, grammar/ writing skills, and fundamental math concepts. Knowing how to understand what you’ve read, whether by reading slowly or skimming,is a skill that will serve you well not just through the rest of your academic career, but through life.
Similarly, knowing how to communicate effectively and concisely through the written word — particularly now that email is the primary form of communication in most professional fields — is equally vital to success. Students often believe that they won’t need to revisit Algebra and Geometry once the courses are over, so they don’t worry about trying to master elusive concepts. Cramming for tests and relying on short-term memorization might earn you an A on a test, but it will likely require you to relearn the material down the road. Not only do these fundamentals come back again and again in more advanced math courses, but they are also the primary focus of both the SAT and ACT Math sections.