If you have a child in high school, at some point they will need to take the SAT. Maybe your child has already registered. But what now? How does your child prepare?
If your child is not sure where to begin or how to prepare for the SAT, then this guide will help them. First we’ll go over what they will need to do to prepare for the test. Then, we’ll offer some methods your child can use to prepare for the SAT. Finally, this article will summarize key Jump Start techniques that will ensure your child scores at the top.
#1: Register for the SAT
If your child hasn’t already registered for the SAT, they can register at the College Board website. They will need to create an account to register. Then, your child will be able to select from different locations and dates. Try to pick a location that is not too far away, since you’ll have to drive your child there on the morning of the test. Remember to check if your local testing center is closed. Test centers may close or make changes on short notice, including on test day, and they may even close for the scheduled makeup date. Test center data is updated every three hours so be sure to search any closings the night before and morning of your scheduled test.
In terms of choosing the right test date, your child needs to give themselves enough time to prepare. If they are not familiar with the SAT, we would suggest picking a date at least three months in advance, if possible. Your child should expect to spend four or more hours preparing every week for a shorter number of weeks.
#2:Understand the Overall Structure and Format of the SAT
Your child will also want to understand the overall structure of the test. The SAT score is out of 1600 points distributed into two portions: 800 points for the Math section, and 800 points for Evidence-Based Reading and Writing. The lowest possible score is 400 points (200 on each section). The SAT essay section is optional and is separately scored out of eight points in three domains, making the max essay score 24.
Most of the test consists of multiple choice questions with four answer choices. However, some of the math questions are “Grid-Ins,” or “Student-produced responses,” which require you to calculate an answer and then grid it in a special section on your scantron sheet.
#3: Become Familiar With the Content of the SAT
The many sections of the SAT question different areas of your child’s knowledge and skills. Additionally, the SAT has a specific style of asking questions that your child will want to become very familiar with. Each section has its own clear set of question types and formats that your child will face on test day. Preparing for the SAT math section will be different from preparing for the SAT reading section, which will also be different than preparing for the SAT writing section.
#4: Pinpoint Your Weaknesses
Once your child understands the makeup of the test, they will want to figure out what areas they are weak in and focus on those areas. The best way to do this is to take a timed SAT practice test. Make sure your child finds a quiet testing environment, has scratch paper and a College Board approved calculator. Your child should aim for the conditions to be as close to the SAT as possible. If your child is planning on signing up for the essay portion of the exam, they should also write practice essays as part of their studying routine.
Once your child has taken the practice test, students should refer to the provided scoring guidelines to find out their overall score. This will help them figure out what their strengths and weaknesses are. The sections your child did the best in will clearly be where they receive the highest scores.
Encourage your child to look through the practice test to see which questions they missed. They should be taking note of any encumbering patterns to target areas of weakness.
Did your child miss all of the data interpretation questions on the reading section? All the algebra in the math section? Those are the types of questions they will need to work on.
#5: Set a Target Score
Once your child has an idea of their performance, have them set a goal score. They will want it to be something they can realistically accomplish in the time frame that they have for preparing for the SAT. With practice and a clear plan of action in place a 100 point improvement in performance is achievable within a few weeks; whereas a 300 point improvement in that time frame is much less achievable. The more they want to improve their score, the more time they will need to put into studying for the exam.
Your child’s target score should also take into account the schools that they are interested in attending. To increase chances of college admissions, students should be within the 50% score range for each university they would like to attend. The middle 50% describes the average score range of 25 to 75 percent of students that were admitted into the university’s freshman class for the prior school year. So if a school’s middle 50% is 1050-1200, then 25% of students admitted to the university scored below 1050, 50% scored between 1050-1200, and the top 25% scored above 1200.
#6: Create a Study Schedule
Based on your child’s target score and how much time they have before the SAT, they will want to make a study schedule for themselves. They will want to spend a consistent amount of time every week studying until they take the test. For example, if your child thinks they will need to study 40 hours to reach their target score, and the test is in 10 weeks, they should study about 4 hours a week for 10 weeks. This will help keep them motivated and make constant progress towards their goal.
It is also best if your child sets aside enough study time in advance. Perhaps they will start studying one hour after school every day, or they will plan to spend 2.5 hours on Saturday morning and 2.5 hours on Sunday evening every week prepping for the test. Setting consistent and scheduled study times will help turn studying into a beneficial habit. When you know your child’s study schedule, you can hold them accountable to ensure they are making study progress towards their goal.
#7: Review Important Content
Once your child has a goal and schedule, it is then time for them to begin reviewing the content. They should learn any material they need for the test that they do not know yet, and review what they already know. This helps ensure they are ready for every section of the test and that they do not fall behind on the subjects they are already good at.
#9: Continue Practicing
Being successful on the SAT exam takes proper planning and targeted practice of the skills your child needs. They can do this through practicing specific question types, topics, or entire sections they need more work on. If your child gets questions wrong, they should work through them to understand what happened.
#10: Be Ready for the Test
When test day comes, your child should be ready. Reassure them to engage in all their best test taking practices. This includes having them get lots of sleep the night before, having a balanced breakfast, and enduring they pack their bag with No. 2 pencils and an SAT approved calculator.
Jump Start is committed to finding trending topics and offering you free and effective educational resources. Resources are always a great tool for supplementation and for enhancing your child’s learning strategy.
However, tests and exams can be the most stressful events in a student’s educational career. They often play a large role in determining their grades, and subsequently affecting student’s placement in more advanced classes.
The SAT and ACT are the most important test your high school student will take. Your child’s score on the SAT will determine college entrance and scholarship awardings as well as predict their performance in college. Since many colleges rank SAT score as one of the most important factors for college admissions, this can create added stress for students as the stakes are high and staying focused for a three hour long exam can be a challenging task.
Jump Start tutors can help your child get ready for their upcoming exam. Since the SAT covers four years of reading and math material, it is very challenging for students to study on their own.
Jump Start walks students through the process step by step. Every tutor who works for Jump Start must score in the top 10% to be hired, ensuring that your child is working with an expert who will help them successfully navigate questions as they are studying for the exam.
Jump Start students are also equipped with our award-winning curriculum allowing students to practice outside of their tutoring sessions with customized games, lesson plans and videos making the process of studying less daunting and more fun.
Our students have the highest increases in South Florida boosting an average increase of over 180 points within the first 10 to 15 tutoring sessions! As a result, we’ve helped families save thousands of dollars on tuition costs while helping students get into their first choice colleges through one-on-one tutoring.
At Jump Start, we understand that student’s stress levels have increased. Tutoring offers students the opportunity to combat anxiety, recall information faster, and conquer tests with more confidence! That is why we evaluate our students using one-on-one assessment testing to pinpoint their strengths and weaknesses.
Our tutors will help students navigate the exam with a hands-on learning experience in-home or online; as they explore question types, passage types, timing and other test prep strategies that will ensure they are successful with increasing their score on the SAT!
Choosing our online tutoring services includes interactive whiteboards, screen sharing, document sharing and video tools to make online test prep more personalized and fun.
Give your child the benefits of in-home and online tutoring today! Check out our newly designed website to learn more about our private tutoring programs. Call Jump Start for a FREE consultation today: (954) 440-5787
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