Written by: Helen Donohoe
***Helen Donohoe, M.S.Ed., is a teacher of English and French in the Hamilton/Burlington area. She holds practice SAT sessions on Saturdays on an informal, drop-in basis at Cedar Springs Racquet Club where she is a member, long-time tennis hacker and aficionado.
In this section of the website we will be publishing short paragraphs on various aspects of SAT. Please leave your questions/comments here, and Helen will be happy to respond to any specific concerns from students/parents***
I’ll digress a bit from the topic I highlighted in the last column – strategies for the critical reasoning section of SAT – and in response to comments from students who wrote a practice SAT a couple of weeks ago, I’ll discuss time management for exams instead. The common theme among those who took the test was that they ran out of time on most of the sections and had to leave some questions unanswered.
In the hectic lives of students combining school with high level athletic pursuits, there are two types of time management, what I call macro time management and micro time management. The macro involves a number of people as well as the student athlete – parents, (even grandparents) siblings, teachers, coaches, tutors, and friends. All of these are part of the organization required to make the best possible use of everyone’s time and to enhance the opportunities for the student to succeed. Everyone plays a part. The wise student athlete will be aware and appreciative of these combined efforts and will be better able to make the switch to micro time management – the skills required when you are all on your own in a test-taking situation. Then it is you and only you. (This can be compared to a singles tennis match of course, when at the most, there will be very limited communication with a coach. The biggest difference is of course that tennis is not a game with time limits.) So if the SAT section gives you 20 minutes to answer 20 questions, you know that you have a minute for each question.
When you are in your family vehicle on the way to a practice or tournament, are you making use of this macro time by reading a few pages of a novel or reviewing for a test? (You can access entire texts of some short novels online.) Do you have vocabulary lists that you can review on your laptop/ipad/iphone? Even an old-fashioned notebook or binder will be fine.
Once you reach your destination, check the time that has elapsed and then check what you have achieved in reading, reviewing etc. during that time. This will help you make the transition to the micro time when you are writing the SAT.