The first semester is done. School’s out. Winter is settling in.

Wondering how to make the most of your Winter Break? Check out the best ways to use your time off to get a head start for spring.

Choose an exam

While the SAT and ACT are similar, many students find one exam more intuitive or easier than the other. To be certain you pick the right test, take a diagnostic exam of both. The results will show you where you stand among other students as well as what your strengths and weaknesses are. You’ll also get a feel for which test you do better on.

Interested in taking free diagnostics? ArborBridge can help. And you’ll get a detailed report of exactly what you need to work on. Request a diagnostic here.

Set your test prep plan

There are a lot of test prep options out there: self-prep, study guides, online platforms, apps, classes, online tutoring, in-person tutoring, bootcamps…the list is enormous. If you’re a junior and haven’t yet planned exactly how you’ll study, now is the time. Shop around. Ask how your friends are preparing. Look online for a class or tutoring that fits your needs.

When you shop, be realistic about how much work you can do on your own, how you best learn, how much money you want to spend, and when you want to take the exams. By early January you should have picked a prep option and set your timeline. You don’t have to start prep by January, but a plan is a must!

Learn the fundamentals

Mastering the SAT/ACT is a process, and that process always begins by learning the basics. Spend your break doing an intensive course so that you have a strong foundation of the fundamentals. You will also learn best practices and techniques that will enable you to answer SAT/ACT questions more quickly and easily. When school is back in session, you’ll then be able to focus on the lighter work of refining more advanced principles and taking practice exams to hone your skills.

Get a head start—especially if you’re taking APs

The spring is always an intense time of year, especially if you plan to take the SAT/ACT and APs at the same time. Be proactive, create a plan, and get ahead on one of these tasks now. One option is to get a jump start on SAT/ACT prep so you can take your first SAT in March or first ACT in February, before AP season heats up. A second option is to start your AP review now. Take time to organize your notes from your AP classes, review everything you’ve learned so far in your course, and try practice FRQs and multiple-choice questions. Any work you do now will help lighten the load in the spring.

Whichever option you pick, don’t waste this valuable time!


If you need help figuring out the best way to use your Winter Break, reach out to us.

We can find the plan that works for you.