Monday, March 19, 2012

4 Prep Steps For SAT Success


4 Prep Steps For SAT Success

Jessie Rabbit reading a book, under a large stained glass window, in the unique and charming Mill Rose Inn, Half Moon Bay, California, USA
The SAT is one of the biggest tests any high school student will take. It tests students' knowledge of everything they have learned from grade school, junior high and high school. It is natural for teens to feel nervous about taking such an important test. Parents can greatly reduce their teens' worries about the SAT by following a few simple suggestions.

1. Encourage children to read. It is never too early to start encouraging a child to read. Using flash cards the week before the test will probably not help much. It is especially important to have teens read during their middle school years. By doing this, they will expand their vocabulary and know how to spell words correctly.

2. Enroll the teen in challenging courses. The SAT measures an individual's reasoning and problem-solving skills. Have teens take as many rigorous or advanced classes as possible. As C.S. Lewis once said, logic should be required in schools. However, it is not. Consider purchasing some logic books with puzzles and exercises for a child to complete at home. These books are great for developing critical thinking skills.

Studying3. Be familiar with the format of the test. Although the ACT does not have penalties for incorrect answers, the SAT does. Each correct answer receives one point. Incorrect answers receive a small fraction of a point. However, questions that remain unanswered are not given any points. Encourage teens to practice using the process of elimination to determine the best answer. Make sure they understand that guessing is better than not guessing, but the optimal choice is to use critical thinking for answering each question.

4. Research available options before paying for test prep. There are thousands of resources online for SAT preparation, and many of them come with significant price tags. Parents may choose from software, online tutorials, books or tutors. Experts strongly encourage parents to be cautious of any tutor claiming to be able to raise a student's score by a certain amount. It is also important to remember that paying for study materials will not be profitable unless the student puts in the required study time. So, which option is the best? There is no correct answer to this question that applies everyone. Each child learns differently, so parents must determine their child's learning needs. For example, a teen who reads and mostly learns independently will likely benefit from reading materials. However, a student who learns better from classroom lectures may benefit from a tutor.

In some cases, there may be more things parents can do to optimize their teens' chances of getting higher scores. Some individuals suffer from severe test anxiety. If a teen develops or complains of symptoms prior to the test, be sure to seek medical help. Some children may need counseling. Overall, it is important for parents to remain supportive, calm and patient. A supportive and confident parent contributes greatly to test success.
Richard Barnes is a political writer working on his masters in political science to gain more knowledge in his field.

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