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How to Begin Prepping for the Big Test: the SAT

The SAT is a standardized test that colleges use to determine a student’s eligibility for admission. If your child is planning to take the SAT soon, remember it will require intensive preparation. During this time, ensure that you maintain a careful balance between giving them the freedom to handle this important academic challenge on their own and providing ample parental guidance. That way, they can enrol best paying majors they want.

Here’s how you can help your child prepare for the SAT and achieve their goals: 

Encourage Them to Choose Academically Rigorous Classes in High School 

The SAT is designed to test a student’s aptitude and knowledge on topics that they should’ve learned while in high school. That’s why it’s crucial for your child to master the necessary coursework that would best prepare them for the test.  

Here are some examples of high school classes that will get them ready for the SAT: 

  • They should take literature classes because the SAT is reading-heavy. They’ll be required to read excerpts lifted from a variety of sources, including classic literature and scientific journals.  
  • Algebra serves as the base for most SAT math questions. Your kid will definitely encounter some trigonometry, calculus, and geometry problems in there, but most of them will be rooted in algebra. 
  • Your child should also start developing strong writing skills, even if they don’t plan on taking the optional essay question. Writing classes will help them identify common literary techniques, understand nuances in vocabulary, and analyze grammatical structures.

Furthermore, remember that doing well in these classes will also help them when they enter college. A lot of them serve as the foundation for the more advanced undergrad courses. 

Focus on Test Scores 

When you only have a short period of time to boost your child’s chances of getting into the college of their dreams, remember that it’s easier to raise test scores than a GPA. Below are a few crucial tips to keep in mind: 

  • Get a baseline score. You can use the free practice tests that your child’s school offers or sign them up for a free practice SAT. After the practice test, your child will receive a comprehensive score report that outlines the questions they aced and the ones that need improvement. This will help you determine which study areas your child should focus on. 
  • Consider hiring a tutor or enrolling them in SAT prep courses that provide expert instructors, personalized practice, self-paced prep, and practice exams. 
  • Take advantage of free online resources and tools that offer dedicated help and expert information for SAT takers.  

Don’t hesitate to use the tools and experts at your disposal to help you specifically target your child’s strengths and weaknesses. 

Create a Practice Schedule

The key to doing well on the SAT is ample practice. It won’t just improve and identify the student’s strengths and weaknesses, but it will also build their endurance and reduce their test-day anxiety. Make sure that your child regularly practices for the real thing with drills and sample tests. Create a practice schedule ahead of time to help them meet their goals.  

Here’s how you can create a realistic practice schedule that won’t overwhelm your child, but will still help improve their performance: 

  • Ask your child to fill in a blank calendar with their school requirements, deadlines, and other extracurricular or social commitments. 
  • Work with your child to create a practice schedule that’s intensive, but will also give them plenty of time to rest and de-stress. 
  • Just remember to include a full-length test once or twice a month in the schedule. 
  • Post the calendar where both of you can easily and frequently see it. 

If you hire a tutor or prep service to create the practice schedule, make sure that you have a copy. Know when your child is taking the full-length tests and ensure that they’ll be able to take those tests without interruptions or distractions. 

Avoid Extreme Pressure 

Your child is already worried about taking the test, letting down their family and teachers, scoring lower than their peers, and failing to get into their dream college. You shouldn’t add to the pressure that they are already facing. 

Be positive and encouraging. Don’t talk about your own test scores and never tell them you are disappointed when they get low scores on practice tests. Furthermore, don’t keep them away from their friends or extracurriculars to give undue focus on test prep.  


The most important thing that you can do for your child while they are preparing for the SAT is to just be there for them. This is an overwhelming and stressful period in your child’s life and having someone they trust to offer support and guidance will go a long way into keeping them healthy and sane.