The ACT and the SAT are important components of any college application. However, it can sometimes prove difficult to convince your child to adequately prep for them – even if he or she is normally an A+ student! While studying for the ACT or the SAT is ultimately your child’s responsibility, there are ways to encourage your student’s efforts. Here are seven ways to support your student’s ACT/SAT study:
1. Help your student find the right study materials
Regardless of whether your child registers for the ACT or the SAT, prep materials (like the ACT practice tests and these SAT practice tests) are a must-have. You can help find them by taking your student to a bookstore or conducting research online. Your child's guidance counselor and teachers may also be able to recommend specific resources, so encourage your student to visit these individuals as soon as possible. This will help your student analyze practice test results.
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2. Ensure a quiet study space
This might mean turning the television off or reminding your family to keep their voices low. If your child prefers to study at the library, it might also mean offering him or her a ride to and from the chosen prep spot.
3. Encourage your student to study regularly
Ask your child about his or her study schedule, and prompt them to pull out their review materials if they tend to procrastinate or forget. These are some great tips on how to avoid study distractions. If your child hasn’t settled on a prep schedule yet, helping them create one is a great way to support their ACT/SAT study. You may also want to consider a test prep tutor to help your child.
4. Register for the test together
This process can be confusing, and it often requires a credit card number. Registering for the ACT or SAT with your student will provide a concrete prep deadline, which may encourage your child to further commit to his or her study regimen.
5. Assist with timing
Another way to support your student’s ACT/SAT study is to help replicate the testing environment. Whenever your child completes a practice exam, you can assist by manning the timer and simulating true testing conditions. This can be especially useful for those students who may need to work on remaining focused. It can also limit unnecessary breaks. Early in the prep process, your student may require additional time to finish a full exam, and this is perfectly fine. Simply track the extra minutes, and monitor his or her improvement over time. You can also offer time management strategies if he or she continues to struggle in this area.
6. Ask for progress reports
Ensure your child can answer the question, “What have you been working on?” Encourage your student to study the more difficult concepts, rather than just the individual problems that they may have answered incorrectly. You can also ask your child to record his or her practice test scores in a central location. Not only does this allow you to measure your child’s readiness for the ACT or SAT, it also helps your student gauge their own abilities.
[RELATED: What is an Average SAT Score?]
7. Talk through stress factors
If your child suffers from test anxiety, talk through exactly what they fear on the ACT or SAT. Assure your child that you will support them no matter what the score, and be clear and reasonable with your expectations. Teaching your child relaxation techniques is another way you can support your student’s ACT/SAT study during a stressful time.