High school juniors across the country are preparing to take the SAT in the next few weeks. At this point, you may be wondering what you could possibly do to improve your score.
How to Help Your Child Prepare for the SAT
Here are some steps to follow in the next few weeks to make the most of the remaining time.
14 Days Out — Get a current snapshot of your skills
If you haven’t already, take an SAT practice test. Your score and skills analysis will give you a clear starting point for planning. Organize a study plan with these steps:
- Identify your good areas that you want to make great. Every student has a strong suit; figure that out and optimize it.
- Identify the areas that need the greatest improvement, and, here’s the key: find the few highest-impact skills in those areas that will produce the biggest impact. Focus on those high-impact skills.
- Prepare a detailed study schedule that charts your expected personal growth over the next two weeks, including specific goals for your areas of focus.
A well-trained tutor can help use the practice test data to focus your efforts so you can improve during the time that remains.
10 Days Out — Work on time management
Now that you’ve familiarized yourself with some of the test construct and high-impact skills, you need to start to think about time management. How are you breaking up your time for the reading passages and questions? How much time are you spending on the easy and medium math questions versus the hard questions? These nuanced time-management decisions can have a big impact on performance.
7 Days Out — Take another practice test and assess progress
At this point, take another practice test. Assess your growth in your scores and skills. What has grown? What hasn’t? Now, target the skills that need the most attention and focus there for the remaining days.
1 Day Out – Summarize & Review
With the end in sight, it’s time to consolidate your lessons learned onto one sheet. What high-impact skills are most important for you? What grammar rules, math formulae, reading strategies are the most helpful? And what time management approaches optimize your performance best? Write these down for review and bring them along in the car ride on test day morning. And be confident! The key is that you have insight into your own personal performance and you know how to personalize your own test-taking approach to meet your specific needs. That’s the key to success.
About Matthew Pietrafetta
Matthew Pietrafetta, Ph.D. is the founder and CEO of the test preparation company Academic Approach.