Family, How To, Lifestyle

How to Help your Teen Prepare for the SAT and ACT

Standardized testing season is upon us and it can be a stressful time for students and parents alike. Your teen is hoping to do well on the SAT and/or ACT in order to be accepted into the college of his or her dreams. You’re hoping to do anything you can to help them stay calm and do well on these all-important tests. We have a few tips that may help – keep reading.

1. Research which Tests to Take
Be sure to check the requirements of the colleges your student is applying to in order to determine whether they need to take the SAT, the ACT, both exams or even additional SAT Subject exams. No need to pay the extra fees and endure the extra studying if only one exam is needed by their dream schools.

Click here for more information on both tests.

2. Register in Advance
You will need to register for the tests far in advance to ensure you have an end date in mind and plenty of time to prepare. We suggest registering at least 2 months in advance. You can register for the SAT and check the registration deadlines here and the ACT by clicking here. For all the official test dates for 2017-2018 school year, click here.

3. Prepare and take the PSAT and/or PLAN
The PSAT is a formal practice test for the SAT and the PLAN is the equivalent for the ACT. Some parents and students place a lot of emphasis on these informal exams, the truth is that they are not nearly as important as the real SAT and ACT. It is, however, a good idea to study for these practice tests, especially because your teen’s PSAT or PLAN test may help to qualify them for early scholarships.

4. Utilize Free Resources
You may be surprised by how many free practice tests and study guides are also available. The Khan Academy offers free Math practice, Reading practice, Writing, practice and even 3 versions of a full-length SAT exam. There’s also a Daily Practice App from the College Board that will allow your teen to answer a question each day from the ease of their smartphone or tablet.

5. Research before Paying for Tutoring or Classes
Many students may be able to prepare just by taking advantage of free practices and guides, while other students may require additional tutoring or paid resources. There are countless tutoring services and classes that you can enroll your students in, but they can be costly. Therefore, we recommend seeing if the free resources will fulfill the preparation they need before investing in paid resources.

6. Help your Teen Remain Calm, Confident and Focused
As parents, try to stay calm and encourage your teen to relax as well. While these tests are very important, he or she can always re-take the test if needed. Watch for signs of stress and anxiety in your teen and remind them to simply breathe. Teens should try to exercise, get plenty of sleep and eat healthy to help control the anxiety they may be feeling. Besides, the last thing they need before the big test is to be sick or sleep-deprived!
Listen for negative statements from your student and try to install some confidence in them. Remind them how capable and prepared they are. If they are feeling overwhelmed by a difficult part of the exam, help them break it into smaller, more manageable sections.
In order to help your student focus, encourage them to study continuously, even if it’s just for 5 minutes. Studies have shown that students with short attention spans should try to focus non-stop for 5 straight minutes, and then increase it to 10 and then 15, etc. Students will be able to stay completely focused if it’s only for a few minutes.


Let us know in the comments below if you have any SAT and ACT preparation tips of your own!


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