How to make the most of your standardized test

The SAT or ACT can be a difficult test to take. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways a parent can help their child prepare for the exam he or she chooses to take. Here are three ways to assist your student in the weeks leading up to the SAT or ACT test date.

Be encouraging and help lower stress

While you want your child to perform well on standardized tests, you also want to be understanding of the pressure the SAT and ACT can put on students. Instead of admonishing your child for not studying enough, put a positive spin on the process by helping him or her create a study schedule that allows for breaks and minimizes stress. It’s also important to note that both the SAT and ACT have changed since you were in high school. The study methods you found helpful may not work for your child. Your student can use your support and guidance, so try to be helpful, but not overbearing.

Help them locate study materials and resources

Many study materials for the ACT or SAT are available online. There are also many printed resources available in the form of prep books and practice tests. Not every resource will work for every student, so work with your child to find the resources that will play to his or her strengths.

If your child is having a hard time preparing or isn’t quite sure how to approach the subject material, you may also want to consider enrolling in SAT or ACT courses or working with a tutor.

Don’t skip breakfast

A good night’s sleep before the ACT or SAT is a must, so make sure your child is in bed at a good time prior to the test and not attempting to cram last-minute. Eating a good meal before the exam is just as important. An empty stomach during the three hours it takes to complete the test can have detrimental effects on overall scores.

Treat your child to breakfast on the morning of the exam. Make breakfast at home or go to a local eatery that will provide a healthy meal before test time. While you both eat, offer words of encouragement!

About the author
Kristin Heidloff

NCSA Operations Project Manager