Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Helping Your Teen with College Prep

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When my daughter got her pre-ACT scores back in the mail a few years ago, she was disappointed. Her scores were just a tad below the cut off scores for several of the colleges she had been considering.  This was a shocker to her because her classes were surprisingly easy, so she was getting As and Bs in them. In today's day and age, it seems the race to get into a good school is even more stringent than it was when I was in college. Here are a few tips for parents to help their teens prepare to take the ACTs/SATs.
Prepping before the test
There are several national learning centers that offer ACT and SAT prep courses.  We looked into those. We also ordered an Act Prep book.  It seemed to help her get a better grasp of what would be on the test and provided several practice tests for her to take.

Make sure your teen gets a good night sleep the night before the test. Tired brains do not function the same as well-rested ones.

Feed them a healthy breakfast. Nourished brains and silent stomachs make concentrating easier.

Remind them that there are always re-takes. Anxiety can often get the best of students when they realize how much is at stake in regards to their test scores.

Give them a pep talk. If your teen starts talking negative about their abilities, remind them of the successes they've had in difficult academic situations in the past.

Chew gum during study sessions. You'll find out the answer below.

Tips for teens during the test
Answer every question. New scoring standards don't penalize for wrong answers.

Don't waste time on questions that are challenging. If they don't know the answer, skip it and come back later.  This way, they're able to possibly get correct answers on the questions easier to them instead of them remaining unanswered.

If unsure of the answer, use process of elimination to narrow down which one or two answers could be the correct one.

Before starting, students should read and re-read directions to ensure they understand them.

Look at how many questions are to be answered in the given time. This allows students to calculate how much time they should spend on each question. Time management is key.

Chew the same gum during test taking. Studies show that there are cognitive benefits to chewing gum. Also, there are many theories that flavor recognition helps with memory retention. Crazy, right?!
After the test
Lower than expected scores can have a sobering effect on teens. But they allow them to see where they stand in the process.  Scores reflect what areas they excel at and where work is needed.

Remind your teen that their test scores aren't who they are. Some students excel in their high school classes, but don't do as well as expected on college prep tests.  This can be an unnerving experience.
The Princeton Review also offers some great information for college-bound students and their families. You can find SAT info here and ACT info here.


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