Parenting can often seem like a series of tests, some more critical than others. For college-bound teens and their parents, however, the SATs are some of the most challenging. If you're a first time parent of a teenager, navigating the college admissions process can be a series of frustration. By following a few tips, you can help your child have a successful SAT experience.
Even if your teen has no idea where they want to go to college or what they want to study, have them investigate admission requirements for colleges near your home. During freshman year, teens should sign up for a free account at collegeboard.com to take advantage of their information services. Taking the PSAT during freshman or sophomore year will give teens a head start on understanding the format of the SATs.
Most students take the SAT tests beginning their junior year, but if they're taking honors or AP classes their sophomore year they might consider taking SAT Subject Tests at the end of the course. Register early on collegeboard.com to reserve a spot at your closest testing center.
Get a study guide.
While many kids pay to take SAT preparation courses or purchase study guides, there are many free resources available as well. The local library offers current test prep study guides for free checkout, complete with study tips and practice tests. Often just becoming familiar with the test format can help teens feel more confident and prepared. Collegeboard.com also offers free online test prep.
Arrive early on test day.
SAT testers must abide by very strict rules: no cell phones, no iPods, no mechanical pencils, and NO late entries. Plan on arriving at least 15 minutes prior to the cut off time-once the doors of the testing center are closed, no one is allowed to enter. Arriving early also allows kids to settle in, breathe deeply, and feel calm before the test begins.
Never give up.
Students may take the SAT and SAT Subject Tests multiple times. Often, the first attempt will not produce the desired results, so teens should plan accordingly. Also, as college selection grows closer, individual requirements for each school need to be considered carefully. SAT scores are only one factor for admissions, but still need to be taken seriously.