Preparing for the SAT and ACT may seem like a job for the student taking the test, and the student alone. But just like other aspects of education, ACT and SAT test prep begins with and ends with the family environment.
The following ACT and SAT prep tips are good tips for everyone in the family to follow and keep in mind. They help create the kind of home environment to help any student maximize his or her performance on these tests!
1. Understand that Everyone Has Different Learning Styles
Every student is different when it comes to ACT and SAT prep. Just as with adults in different occupations, some will do better with a “slow-and-steady” approach, while some work best under pressure.
It's very common for children from the same family to have very different approaches to learning and test-taking. Just because your oldest did best with one type of studying, doesn't mean that younger siblings will.
Expecting them to follow in their older sibling's footsteps may subject them to a non-optimal studying schedule, which will harm their performance on the SAT or ACT.
That's why it's important for students and parents alike to understand that different people have different studying styles. Recognizing this fact will help students maximize their test performance.
2. Adjust ACT and SAT Prep to Fit Each Student's Learning Style
Recognizing a difference in performance is only half the battle; the other half lies in putting the chosen study methods into practice!
Whether a student needs to study for intense periods of time every other day for three weeks, or for just 15 minutes a day for two months, it's important for the student and his or her family to respect and encourage this study time.
It's important for parents to respect that their student may have different needs than they might have had as students. And it's equally important that each student respect the time he or she has agreed to set aside for studying!
3. Keep Scores in Perspective
Let's face it: there are plenty of smart people who don't test well, as well as a few not-exceptionally-bright people who test better than anybody ever should. You can cause yourself undue stress (or your children) by comparing scores.
This doesn't mean that you shouldn't compare scores. In fact, keeping your scores “secret” can sometimes cause more trouble than it's worth, as most students are big on sharing.
But you should be careful about assigning too much value to the way standardized scores measure intelligence, especially when comparing one person's score to another, and especially when it's somebody's first time.
And speaking of that...
4. Remember that No Score is a Final Score
One of the great things about ACT and SAT test scores is that you can choose which test date score you wish to be sent to your college(s) of choice. Many students have test scores that vary wildly: some gain confidence and score higher the second time, while others lock up and score lower every time after the first.
Generally, ACT and SAT test prep can raise scores significantly, often bringing scores into the “scholarship zone” when they weren't there before. There is no reason for any student to ever let test scores discourage them from the university of their choice. Simply spend some more time in preparation, and try again!
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