A Simple Plan to Help Prepare for the SAT

Nov 3, 2021 | At Home Learning Tips, college prep, Studying Tips

It’s SAT season for high school juniors.  Many parents and caregivers are faced with the question: How do I help my child prepare for the SAT? We’ve outlined a brief plan to help get you and your child started. 

Gather the right SAT preparation resources.

This includes SAT practice tests, a study book, and people to help support the journey. Khan Academy has free online tests available and Kaplan has eight free downloadable tests here. An accountability partner can be a great resource for your child—someone they can check in with every so often and report their progress. This could be a relative, teacher, tutor, or a friend who is also preparing for the SAT. Other resources needed? Cozy slippers and a collection of favorite study snacks (just saying). 

Hire an SAT prep tutor.

This is one of the most important resources, so important it deserves its own bullet point. When preparing for an athletic event, you work with a coach. For a bodybuilding contest, you hire a personal trainer. The same applies to SAT preparation! Private teaching with a tutor can make all the difference in results. An expert tutor can personalize learning based on your child’s unique needs and help develop a plan that leads towards success.

Get (and stay) organized.

This means gathering your resources above, finding a cozy place where your child works best (not in front of Netflix), and working with your child (and the tutor) to create a plan. Your child should be involved in this process, for if there is ownership in the process, the chances for follow-through on their part increase substantially.

Create an SAT preparation plan (and stick with it).

We recommend backwards planning. Start with the test date, then look at the weeks leading up to that date. Plan specific goals and tasks for each week (bonus points for pinning down the specific days). Schedule days for practice tests (we recommend one every few weeks). Use the practice tests to identify trends with wrong answers—these are areas your child needs extra teaching in. Base topics on the trends from the test, covering content your child may have forgotten and needs to brush up on. Our lives can get so busy, so a solid plan helps make sure there is no last-minute rush to get ready. And this is a great task for a first session with the tutor!

If the thought of creating a plan gives you anxiety, check out this 3-month plan and 1-month plan from Kaplan.

Mix in SAT test-taking strategies.

When thinking about goals for your SAT preparation plan, have a combination of content-related goals and test-taking strategies. This will help your child feel more confident on test day and teach them to knock down any barriers to success. 

Build-in breaks.

We can’t work all the time, right? Neither can our kids. We need to ensure they are building in breaks to their study plan. This might include days off from studying, fun activities along the way, and chunks of time to give some relief to their ever-so-busy brains. Time to recharge.

Choose rewards for milestones.

We all like rewards for our hard work, right? Our children are the same. Have them pick out a few milestones from their study plan, then pick out a few small rewards that are highly appealing to them. It could be a favorite meal that you cook, a favorite ice cream treat, or a favorite hike or bike ride. Having your child plan out rewards will keep the momentum and keep them motivated. 

Review changes to the SAT and make sure your child’s calculator is allowed by checking out the CollegeBoard’s SAT Calculator Policy

Need virtual or in-person SAT tutoring? The teachers of The Community Classroom can help. Find out more about our tutoring here.

For further reading, please check out:

Photo of sticky notes by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Photo of desk scene by Firmbee.com on Unsplash

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