It’s the start of the New Year and spring will be here before we know it. For high school students, spring means one thing: time to take the SAT! This is a big test that carries a lot of weight, so don’t procrastinate studying or assume that 4, 5, or even 6 weeks will be enough prep time for your high school student. The earlier you can start, the better so let’s make a plan of attack and figure out the best way to get your student motivated and ready to knock this test out of the park!
The SAT, or Scholastic Aptitude Test, is traditionally taken by high school students in the spring of their junior year, but can be repeated in the fall as a senior. The test assesses students’ knowledge in the areas of reading, writing, and mathematics and is considered the nation’s most widely used admissions test among colleges and universities. As we mentioned, it’s a big deal so it’s crucial that your student is as prepared as they can be before taking the test.
Here are some easy-to-follow guidelines on how to begin preparing your student for this important test:
Get to Know “The Beast”
There’s no way to know exactly what questions will be asked on the SAT, but you can get a good idea of the type of questions by taking a pre-SAT test. The pre-SAT tests can be found on various websites and often times are offered through various local schools as well. These are usually given free of charge and have been composed in conjunction with the folks who actually create the SAT every year.
This pretest is great because it allows your student to see what their strong points are and what areas need additional time and attention. The pretest also gives you a glimpse into the potential wording of problems and the types of things covered on the test. These pre-SAT tests are highly beneficial and we strongly urge your student to take at least one.
Set Goals and Expectations
It won’t be realistic to think that your student can master all they need to know in a short amount of time. Nor will it be realistic to think that they won’t have to come back and revisit the material they learned in the first week of test preparation. Setting realistic goals of what you want to achieve and detailing out how you expect your student to achieve those goals will be very beneficial. These goals should be broken down into manageable, weekly mini-goals.
When goals are setup in this manner, the student feels the burden has been lifted somewhat because they know the expectations are realistic and (hopefully) they had a hand in setting the goals. If they are hit from the get-go with unrealistic expectations, they will feel defeated before they even start. When making the goals, try to not focus too much on your student obtaining a certain score on their SAT. Focusing on a particular number can add to the pressure your student is already facing with such a big test on the horizon.
Break Out the Books and Study!
You know your teen needs to study, but where do you start? As we mentioned, the pre-SAT is going to be of huge help in this regard. If your teen has taken the pretest, review how they did. See what areas need improvement and start there. Jot down the topics/areas that were their weak points and delve into them. Keep in mind that the areas where they excelled shouldn’t be forgotten. Once your teen has become proficient in the areas they struggled in, have them circle around and revisit the areas where they excelled. You would be surprised what material can be forgotten in a short period of time. By revisiting all of the areas frequently, the information will stay fresh in your student’s mind.
Seek Out Help
Preparing for the SAT can be overwhelming. Don’t be afraid to admit if you aren’t able to help your teen understand a particular math equation or decipher literature. There are tutors dedicated to helping students with this particular test prep. The tutors will not only help your teen improve their test score, they will help drill home the methods behind the madness and strengthen your student’s core knowledge. The benefits to obtaining a SAT tutor are endless and are highly recommended.
Stay Focused and Determined
It’s perfectly normal to be overwhelmed or even get discouraged at some point along your preparation journey, but have no fear because in the near distant future, this test will be behind your teen and you will have a student on their way to college! Preparing for such a big test can take a long, long time but, like all good things, success comes to those who put in the effort. If your teen seems overwhelmed or like they need a break, offer them one. Test preparation time doesn’t need to be run like you are a drill sergeant, but you should help them stay focused and working toward their weekly goals.
This is a big test for your teen. They already know the pressure is on when it comes to preparation and taking the test so make life more manageable for them by sitting down together and creating weekly study goals. Enroll them in the pre-SAT so they can see where their strengths and weaknesses are. If they just aren’t catching on to a subject area and you are unsure of how to explain it to them, reach out and get a tutor. Lots of parents do it, especially for SAT preparation, because it’s a lot of material to study and can be overwhelming at times. Should you do everything in your power and your student still doesn’t quite make the grade, don’t fret. They can always retake the test the following year, giving them a chance to raise their grade.
We are so happy that your student is at My Virtual Academy and we feel that they have the skills needed to succeed at the SAT and upon graduation. Should you have any questions or need additional help preparing your student for the SAT, contact us by calling 800-297-2119 or reaching out to us on our website. Happy studying!