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4 Ways Parents Can Help Students Prep For the SAT

Preparing for the SAT is a daunting task. Most high school students are intimidated by the challenge. Here are 4 ways parents can help their son or daughter conquer this exam.

    1. Proctor Tests

      Taking full-length, timed practice SAT examinations is one of the most important parts of SAT preparation. Students who are not enrolled in a course that offers proctored examinations are often expected to take these practice tests at home on their own. However, that rarely happens. There are many distractions that often prevent students from sitting down for 4 hours and taking a full-length SAT examination. This inhibits a student from becoming accustomed to the length, timing, and endurance needed to sit through a full SAT examination. Inadequate SAT practice can result in poor performance on test day. Parents can help their children with this aspect of the SAT by simply acting like the test proctor. The instructions on how to time and proctor the SAT are at the front of every practice exam. Have your son or daughter dedicate 4 hours one Saturday or Sunday morning to take a full-length SAT examination. You should act as the proctor who calls time after each section and gives them timed breaks during the practice exam. The more students practice taking full-length SAT exams under test-day conditions, the better they will do on the official SAT.

    2. Review Essays

      While students are perfectly capable of grading the multiple-choice portion of their own practice SAT examinations, parents should be involved in reviewing their son or daughter’s SAT essays. You can find the College Board’s essay scoring criteria online and ballpark a score off of that. Giving your child feedback on their essay is especially helpful because students often don’t know what they are doing well or not so well in their essays. In addition, by reviewing your child’s essays regularly, you will get a sense of whether his or her writing ability is improving.

    3. Turn Off the Tech

      One of the most difficult part of studying for the SAT these days is avoiding distractions. Students typically have an enormous number of distractions: e-mail, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, etc. There really is no reason for all of this technology when it comes to SAT preparation. Therefore, I recommend parents actually take away or turn off the technology for an hour or two so that students can focus specifically on SAT prep. This means your student may need to hand over their iPhone, iPad, and Macbook. Although they won’t be a huge fan of you when you swap these out for SAT books, they will appreciate it later when their score jumps!

    4. Get College Board Questions

      Parents should make sure their students are practicing with College Board questions. The College Board is the company that creates the SAT. They produce the most similar questions to what your child will encounter on test day. The College Board spends millions of dollar developing accurate, standardized SAT test questions. No other company has the resources to create questions that are as good. Therefore, make sure your student uses as many College Board questions as possible.



    Shaan Patel

    Shaan Patel is the founder of Prep Expert Test Preparation (formerly 2400 Expert), a #1 bestselling SAT prep author, an MD/MBA student at Yale and USC, and winner of an investment deal with billionaire Mark Cuban on ABC's Shark Tank. He raised his own SAT score from average to perfect and teaches students his methods in an online SAT prep class.