Help Your Student Study for the SAT
Sometimes when our kids are being tested at school, it feels like we’re the ones really being tested. It’s difficult to watch our children struggle and ultimately we’d love to provide every correct answer on a silver platter, but the fact is that they need to learn on their own.
When they’re high-schoolers, the most important test they’ll take is the SAT. Colleges across the country have been using this standardized test since 1926, when it was first introduced. The nine part test is designed to measure college preparedness in high school students and focuses on three core subjects – reading, math, and writing.
The test can be particularly nerve-wracking for students since colleges often consider a student’s score for admissions and scholarship consideration. The SAT can directly affect the outcome of a student’s future, and because of this, the test carries a lot of weight for many of these students. As parents, we can’t give them the answers for their success, but we can offer a few helpful tips to guide them in the right direction.
Cramming for a test this important seems like a standard reaction but it is actually counterproductive. Make sure they schedule their test with plenty of time to study. Ideally, eight weeks should be enough as long as they regularly study throughout the time. It’s important to allow them to focus on their studies so plan accordingly around sports and other extracurricular activities. Encourage them to study with friends who are also preparing for their test. This will allow them all to study while still encouraging some social activity.
Understanding how the SAT works is beneficial to how they study. The math portion focuses largely on Algebra I and Geometry. The Writing section has multiple-choice questions that cover grammar as well as an essay portion. Your student should use their time wisely during the test and review each answer with any additional time they have left. SAT online prep is available to help them have a better understanding of how the testing works.
It is just as important to give your brain a break from studying. This may be easier said than done for some students but it is important to encourage children to relax, not only during the test, but while studying and preparing. Stress can cloud their judgement and may result in less than satisfactory scores. Encourage your child to step away from their study sessions. Simply getting fresh air between study sessions can allow them to clear their minds and can encourage sharper focus when they return.
Exercise & Eat Right
Believe it or not, their mental health is directly related to their physical health. Stress and diet are direct contributors to illness and sickness will only add additional stress. Offer healthy snacks and be sure they’re eating balanced meals. Encourage them to go for a walk or run between study sessions. Studies have found that exercise actually improves memory and recall which will only help them during their testing.
In the end, parents just need to be supportive. Some parents add additional stress to the situation by placing unreasonable standards on their child. It’s important to let them know you will be there no matter what the outcome may be. There is always the possibility to retake the SAT should the situation arise.
Other suggestions and ideas about College Preparation and support can be found in my book: The Ultimate College Preparation Blueprint
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