For college-bound students, a strong SAT score can make a world of difference. Most colleges and universities look at a student’s SAT or ACT performance during the admissions process. By helping your teen with SAT prep, you can play a role in increasing their score.
Getting your student ready for the SAT doesn’t have to be a challenge. By following the right steps and planning ahead, you can position your student for success. Here’s a look at how parents can assist their students with SAT prep.
Above all else, focus on being supportive. The college application process is incredibly stressful for most students. Not only did they have to decide if the ACT or SAT is best for them, but they also have to consider a lot more. They have to choose a college, gather critical documents, complete the FAFSA, fill out applications, and write personal or common app essays.
Plus, if your student has test anxiety, taking the SAT might be incredibly scary. It’s a critical test, so anyone who struggles with school-related performance anxiety might have a significant amount of difficulty facing the exam.
If your student is taking the ACT as well, then they may have to contend with ACT prep activities, too. ACT test prep can seem just as intimidating as studying for the SAT. In some cases, your student may become overwhelmed due to the sheer volume of activity.
By concentrating on being supportive, you are playing a critical part in your student’s SAT success. Discuss their worries, provide them with guidance, and try to remain optimistic. Praise your teen for handling their SAT exam prep responsibly, but also make sure they aren’t sacrificing their sleep or overburdening themselves as they get ready.
Choose a Test Date
The SAT is only offered on specific days each year. By choosing a test date, your student knows how much time they have before the exam. That way, they can divvy out their activities and create a workable SAT prep schedule.
Plus, your student has to register in advance. If your teen misses the registration deadline or if a test fills up before that day arrives, they’ll have to choose another SAT test date.
If you want to review upcoming test dates and registration deadlines, head to the College Board’s Test Dates and Deadlines page. There, you can view a schedule, see cut-off days, and register for an exam.
Official SAT Practice, the Ultimate Online SAT Prep Resource
The College Board and Khan Academy have teamed up to ensure students can access online SAT prep resources that can help them excel. The Official SAT Practice program is a free resource for students that features interactive lessons, practice questions, study tips, videos, and much more.
Plus, the practice plan is tailored to each student. By having your teen link their Khan Academy and College Board accounts, they receive a customized study plan. It can analyze the results of their past PSAT or SAT exams to create the program or walk your student through diagnostic quizzes to identify the best approach.
Once the SAT study plan is in place, your student can create a practice schedule. Ideally, they should spend 15 to 30 minutes each day for six to eight weeks to work through their plan effectively. As they work through questions, they get instant feedback. Plus, the site monitors your student’s progress, allowing them to see how much they’ve improved since signing up.
Additionally, your teen should take advantage of the full-length practice SAT tests. Each of the eight available practice exams has questions created by the College Board, the same organization that creates the SAT every year. This can be an excellent option for familiarizing students with the exam. Ideally, your student should take one about two weeks before their test date.
Download the Daily Practice for the New SAT App
If your student is frequently glued to their smartphone, why not turn it into an SAT prep tool. With the Daily Practice for the New SAT app – which was created by the College Board – they can work on their skills while on the go.
Your student will have access to a new question every day. Plus, if they get stuck, they can ask for a hint. The app also provides answer explanations, allowing teens to learn from any mistakes. It only takes a few minutes a day but can give your student a lot of experience to help them shine during the exam.
Books for SAT Practice Tests and Questions
While online resources are incredibly helpful for SAT prep, they aren’t the only option available. There are plenty of books from reputable and reliable sources available, as well. By picking one up, your student can study for the SAT even when they aren’t at a computer, which can be beneficial.
Plus, it’s important to remember that the SAT exam isn’t taken on a computer; it’s a pencil-to-paper test with a printed exam book. By getting an SAT prep book, your student can mimic the real exam experience.
If you aren’t sure which SAT prep book is worth the investment, here are a few to consider:
Review the SAT Exam Requirements Before Test Day
About two weeks before the SAT test date, it’s smart to review all of the test day requirements. The College Board has policies that have to be followed, including everything from ID requirements to approved calculators and more.
By reviewing the policies in advance, you can make sure your student understands what they can and can’t bring. Additionally, if it turns out something is needed, like an approved calculator, you’ll have time to get one.
Prepare for the SAT Exam Day the Night Before
The night before the SAT, it’s smart to spend time with your student and gather everything they need for the exam. With the College Board’s Test Day Checklist, you can review what is required and see what “nice to haves” are allowed.
Gather everything together and place it in your student’s backpack or bag. That way, when it’s time to leave for the test, they can grab their bag or backpack and go.
What to Do SAT Test Day
Once it’s officially test day, help your student start the day off right. Make sure they eat a hearty and sustaining breakfast. That way, they’ll have the energy they need and won’t be distracted by hunger.
Additionally, spend some time boosting their confidence. Remind them how all of their practice will pay off and encourage them to be optimistic. Let them know that you’re proud of their effort and trust that they’ll do their best.
A few positive words can go a very long way, so make sure that you are supportive as they head into the exam. That way, they can feel positive about the test and more at ease, increasing the odds that they’ll be able to keep their nerves in check and excel during the exam.
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