As a parent, you probably want your child to do as well as they possibly can on the SAT. Here are 7 actionable things you can do to help them.
1. Positively Motivate Your Teen
The SAT is a long task, and a little motivation can go a long way! Keep it positive- talk about the scholarships they can get, how it will expand their choice of colleges they can go to. Have them picture the best possible outcome before getting into potential challenges. Avoid associating punishment or failure with the SAT, as this can can cause avoidance and test anxiety.
2. Allow Them a Regular Study Time
Make sure your teen has a regular period of time they can study for the SAT. You don’t have to be over their shoulder, or micromanage their schedule, but the more consistent their schedule is about where and when they study for the SAT, the better they’ll find themselves able to focus. If a family event conflicts with the study time, make an attempt to find a compromise between your teen’s presence at the event and their need for their SAT study time.
3. Get Them The SAT Study Materials They Need
The most helpful thing for any teen to have to study for the SAT is the official SAT practice book. LoveTheSAT also has more targeted study materials if your student struggles with the SAT Math sections or SAT Grammar section. Don’t forget to check that your teen has the more mundane materials as well, like a proper calculator and pencils.
4. Protect the Sanctity of Their Study Space
Some students work well in their rooms; some students work best in a common space. Either way, if you’re sharing the same roof, try and be mindful of your students study space. If it’s in a common room, try and keep the study space clear in time for your teen’s study session. During study hours, avoid watching loud movies or engaging in other potentially distracting behavior. If there are small children or needy pets, find a way to keep them out of your student’s study area during their study time. Let the study place and study hour be a quiet, peaceful place for your student to study for the SAT.
5. Build in Rewards That Reward the Process, Not The Grade
You want to cultivate a growth mindset in your teen about the SAT. The more your teen invests in the process of preparing for the SAT, rather than the outcome, the more self-motivated and resilient they will be. Get a nice meal with them after they try their best on a Practice SAT and talk it over. After a week when they’ve put a lot of time into studying, give them some space to go out with friends! Notice when they’re making progress and putting in work and reward that rather than a practice score. Their score on the test is still important, but, while studying, comes in second to the studying process.
6. Help Them Study Smart
With deadlines and homework competing for your teen’s attention, it’s important that they make the most of what time they can devote to studying for the SAT. If your student is very self-motivated to find ways to study smart for the SAT, then it is likely you can take a step back. If they aren’t, however, consider listening to them about what they struggle with on the SAT and look up different strategies your teen could use to prepare for those struggles.
7. Get a Tutor
At the end of the day, an SAT tutor will have an easier time both identifying what your child needs to succeed on the SAT and teaching that to them. An SAT tutor tends to have years of experience under their belt of helping students in similar situations, and knows where a student should apply their effort to get the most points for their time.
That’s all! I hope you have a wonderful time helping your teen study for the SAT! If you want more SAT and ACT prep advice sure to join our mailing list for a free 27-item checklist and 30-day free SAT email course.