4 Tips to Get Teens Ready for the Big College Entrance Exam Day

The words “SAT” and “ACT often strike fear in the hearts of teenagers across the country. Much pressure is placed upon these college entrance exams, and it’s normal to feel like your entire future depends on a single test. While SAT and ACT scores are important to colleges, it’s important that as a teen, you know that with proper preparation, anyone can perform well on these standardized tests. As parents with stressed-out teens, you should know how to make sure they are as prepared as possible for the big day….

By: Dolores Santos

Give yourself enough study time but don’t overdo it

When it comes to SAT/ACT prep, there is a delicate balance between doing enough studying and overdoing it to the point of madness. As long as you give yourself about three months of serious prep time, you have a great chance for success. Try to study for one hour every day. Check here for a comprehensive guide on study planning.

Help may be a good idea – even for incredibly smart kids

Even if a teen has never needed a tutor or other special instruction throughout their school career (up to now), it may be worth considering an SAT/ACT tutor. Why? Because, unlike a generic history or math test at school, a major part of being successful at these college entrance tests is knowing how to take them. Tutors know meta tips and tricks that will help even the brightest kids do better on the tests.

Start thinking about things in terms of wrong answers instead of right ones

The way the tests are set up leads to a “process of elimination” strategy being the best option. SAT and ACT test takers will not know every answer to every question. They all are multiple choice, however, so it’s best to start thinking about things in terms of eliminating wrong answers as opposed to immediately searching for right ones.

“Your number one strategy on the test is process of elimination. If you’re struggling with a question, try to find reasons to rule out most of the answers rather than reasons why certain options could work,” notes the PrepScholar blog. “If a question seems subjective, keep reminding yourself that it’s an illusion. All incorrect choices are incorrect for good reasons, and it’s your job to find those reasons until you narrow your answers down to one possibility.”

Put down the study guides the night before the test

That’s right. Don’t do a second of test prep the night before the test. But what about cramming, you ask? Don’t do it. It’s counterproductive. You’ve spent months studying, and now it’s time to get your mind into final test mode.

“Professional athletes call this ‘tapering.’ After weeks or even months of training for a competition, athletes take a day or two off before the race or the game to give their muscles a chance to rest and rejuvenate. Your brain works the same way. Cramming the day before the SAT can cause fatigue and poor performance on test day,” says Powerscore.com.

Watch a movie. Play some video games. Read a book for fun. Do something to relax your mind. Even simply doing your chores can have a positive effect. This can take your mind off the stress of the test, and de-cluttering can actually make your environment itself less stressful.

Here’s a good, quick guide for what to think about the day before test, the night before, the morning of, after the test, etc.

It’s important to be serious about the SAT/ACT, but also to try to put it into perspective. If you’re unsatisfied with the results, you can take it again. Studying for a year and pushing yourself to the point of mental exhaustion isn’t going to be productive. Give yourself enough time to get prepared and on test day, trust that you’ve done what you can.

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