As the parent of a teen, it can be challenging to find a balance between encouraging your child to study and being perceived as overbearing. The key to navigating this delicate balance is understanding your child as an individual. There is more than one right way to support your child. Thousands of students and their parents have found the following tips helpful in bringing some calm to the sometimes stressful process of preparing for the SAT and ACT.
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Create a Plan
Sit down with your child during the summer between Sophomore and Junior year to create a test-taking plan. Decide which tests need to be taken (SAT, ACT, Both, Subject Tests, TOEFL), familiarize yourself with the test dates for each, and tentatively plan out when each test should be attempted. Take school exams, extra-curricular activities and academic course-loads into consideration. Preparation is certainly important, so research and select the method of preparation for each test. Proactive planning and setting expectations together will prevent your child and you from feeling overwhelmed when the school year gets busy.
To download TestRockers recommended plan click here.
For international students, download our guide to college in the U.S. right here.
Observe and Stick to Gentle Reminders
Ignore any inclination to nag your child to study, instead take a step back. Allow them to set their own study schedules. Be watchful and decide if your child is studying sufficiently. If you find that your child is not studying as much as they should be, gently remind your child to stay focused. Connect their studying to the big picture (their dream university). If you are using a tutor, request progress reports. If using an online program, progress data should be available. For example, TestRocker's SAT/ACT programs send parents bi-weekly progress reports that detail the amount of time spent on the program and progress made. Parents can use such reports to partner with their child in an encouraging manner.
Be Calm and Don’t Panic
Be a source of calm during this process. Your positive outlook might keep stress from rubbing off on your child. Be a relaxed and listening ear when your child needs to vent. Many parents panic when they see their child’s PSAT scores, because they were expecting better scores. When you panic, so does your child. Instead, guide your child back to the plan you created together over the summer to work towards a better score.
As a parent it’s important to constantly express your confidence in your child’s ability to do well on the SAT or ACT. After a particularly tough practice test or study session ensure that you continue to be in your child’s corner.
Schedule family activities so that they will not be a distraction to your child. Parents and the entire family should reschedule key activities to accommodate for any test-prep time. For example, if your child is taking the January SAT test, it might not be the best idea to plan a December vacation, unless the child has access to an online program or a test-prep book and is able to focus on preparing despite distractions.
Do you have any questions about supporting your child through this process? Need help in creating your test-taking plan?
Schedule a time with us to discuss options and courses of action.
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