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Parent here very little clue how to help my Son prepare - help me

Anang27Anang27 Registered User Posts: 5 New Member

New user to this forum. I am impressed with the wealth of knowledge here.

My Son will be junior coming fall. He always been a Straight A student. His grades fell a little bit in 10th grade. I have no clue how to make him prepare for SAT/ACT.

I would like him to get ahead this summer which he plans to dedicate mostly to SAT/ACT test prep. I would really appreciate help with following -

- What are the best preparation sites where he can watch videos and review study material online (Khan academy?)
- What other study material (books) would you recommend?
- Is there any online group of students he can become part of to get more information as he goes on with his preparations?
- When should he take the SAT/ACT practice exams (where to register for these?)

I am really thankful for this website for such vast amount of information. I really look forward to any recommendations with regard to above. Thank you!


Replies to: Parent here very little clue how to help my Son prepare - help me

  • compmomcompmom Registered User Posts: 8,206 Senior Member
    I will be in a minority perhaps but my kids didn't do much prep for SAT/ACT tests. I think the time is much better spend doing volunteering in the community, or working, or practicing an instrument etc. or even relaxing.

    The main thing to be concerned about is test-taking skills, not content. There are tips available online as well as practice tests, or you could go to a bookstore and buy a book for prep. But honestly, just knowing how to take the test (skip questions that are taking time, to come back to, whether or not to guess etc.) is the best prep and doesn't take very long at all. He certainly doesn't need to devote his summer to this.

    The first tests he takes will essentially be practice and his scores will go up the next time, most likely, simply because he has taken it once before.

    Remember that many elite colleges want applicants to meet benchmarks for scores but after that, it really is about other things. Some large publics may go on scores and grades more.

    Good luck. Hope he has a good summer. And one more thing: I found my relationship with kids was more important in the long run than scores, so nagging or trying to "make" them do things didn't work well. It is up to him :)
  • MaineLonghornMaineLonghorn Super Moderator Posts: 31,315 Super Moderator
    I agree with @compmom! When you say, "I have no clue how to make him prepare for SAT/ACT" it concerns me. You can't MAKE him do it. He has to motivate himself.

    Having said that, my son found that taking lots of practice tests helped him the most. He raised his score (old test) by 320 points that way. He took an SAT review class before his first try and he said it didn't help much.
  • mommdcmommdc Registered User Posts: 8,890 Senior Member
    There are full practice tests for SAT (8) for free on the Collegeboard website.

    If he took the PSAT, he can import his scores and do practice with Khanacademy based on that.

    I don't know much about the ACT but there should be practice tests available. The website has some practice questions for each section I think.

    There are videos on youtube with test strategies, some have full walkthroughs on math sections, and more.

    If he is a strong student, he might just have to review some material and work on timing. Especially on the ACT timing can be an issue.
  • suzy100suzy100 Registered User Posts: 4,206 Senior Member
    edited June 8
    Your son will take the PSAT "for real" in the fall. If he scores very well, it could set him up for some nice scholarships. My Ds used the summer going into junior year to prepare for the PSAT/SAT. The prep for both is essentially the same. Both Ds took the SAT in the fall of junior year. As @mommdc said, you can find tests for practice on the CB website. They also put out a prep book that is available in bookstores and probably at your local library. At the end of the day, though, he will have to do all the work himself, and you can just encourage him.

    If he decides to take the ACT, there is a book called "The Real ACT" that has tips and practice tests. The ACT is typically more straightforward than the SAT, but the timing is tighter so have him practice taking timed tests. Good luck!
  • LindagafLindagaf Registered User Posts: 6,895 Senior Member
    edited June 8
    Your son should not spend all summer prepping for tests. That's not going to help him get into the best colleges. Some test prep is fine, but the summer is a great time for him to do things he enjoys, and that can be used on a college app. He can volunteer, get a job, do a summer enrichment course (thousands of colleges offer great summer programs where he can meet like-minded stduents and have a lot of fun), play sports in a summer league, practice art, submit stories to Teen Ink, learn about and begin applying for scholarships, sign up for free museum or local library programs, and so on. All of those things are going to be a lot more beneficial than studying for tests all summer.

    As far as test prep itself, a lot depends on how much you want to spend. If a student is motivated and intelligent, sometimes only good study guides are needed, or just doing several practcie tests to become familiar with the format. Lots of students do test prep boot camps, in which you pay for a weekend of intensive test prep. I personally only think those are useful for a student who knows absolutely nothing about the tests. There are expensive group tutoring courses for six weeks, which many students find helpful. IMO, private tutoring is by far the most effective option, but is of course very expensive. Khan academy is helpful for the SAT, but the ACT is quite different. Kaplan has a lot of free ACT tips. There are also some excellent posts on both the ACT and SAT sub-forums about good strategies. There are also any posts about best study guides and websites on the test prep forum.

    I am a private tutor and I think the most effective study plan is to begin about 2-3 months from the test date. Do it section by section, and familiarize yourself with the format. Don't do it timed initially. As you become more comfortable with the test, introduce timing. In the last three to four weks before the test, do full tests if possible in simulated conditions.

  • intparentintparent Registered User Posts: 29,477 Senior Member
    The Colege Board website has a SAT prep book that is a good place to start. It is useful if he has someone he can talk to about why he missed practice questions (sometimes the book explanations aren't enough); I was able to help my kids with that, but not all parents are in that position.
  • rhandcorhandco Registered User Posts: 4,275 Senior Member
    I always recommend that students take the SAT twice. If your child will be a junior, have them take the SAT in the new August sitting so they can get a baseline.

    If things get busy, at least there is one test score.

    You can contact his high school guidance counselor and ask if they have any test prep. But College Board and Khan Academy helped my children.
  • threebeansthreebeans Registered User Posts: 283 Junior Member
    My son got a ACT prep book from Barnes and Noble and worked on it - he also did practice tests and when he got a wrong answer reviewed what he did wrong and looked at the stats of how many people doing the practice tests got the questions right also. He's a math guy so that stuff was interesting to him. Plan on taking them twice - the scores tend to go up. He got 30 the first time and 34 the second.
  • droppeditdroppedit Registered User Posts: 696 Member
    I like the Princeton Review "Cracking the SAT" book. It gives useful advice and strategies in the answers for each math problem in the practice tests.
  • Sportsman88Sportsman88 Registered User Posts: 1,554 Senior Member
    I recomend a couple practice tests. Take one cold under real timed conditions and find out where you are and go from there. Take another later in the summer. Work problems as necessary if there are clear identified weaknesses.
  • Anang27Anang27 Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    Thanks every one. Really appreciate it. Gives me a good start. He is very fond of writing and is pretty good at it. I will look for good summer activity / camp related to improving his writing skills. He applying to be a volunteer at Library, food bank and animal shelter, any one of those he likes and will do it. Here in Texas they want the volunteer to be at least 16 and he will soon be. I will be vising this website often the next two years for sure.
  • JanwelJanwel Registered User Posts: 98 Junior Member
    Practice tests are the way to go. Really helped my child. ACT scores rose 5 points after lots of practice (and real) tests. My child is an anxious test taker and it helped reduce the stress. Also, analyse incorrect answers and learn what you need to get it right next time.
  • hannuhyluhannuhylu Registered User Posts: 252 Junior Member

    If he is willing there are lots of options that is the key.
  • cjgammillcjgammill Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
    Definitely practice tests. Use ****.com for practice tests. It's free.
  • TooOld4SchoolTooOld4School Registered User Posts: 2,745 Senior Member
    I'd also recommend taking the test 2-3 times. Have him take it with in September, than in the winter and if necessary next June or Sept. The practice books are more mature for the ACT. He may want to try the SAT and ACT to see which works better for him. My son took the ACT 3 times 25-33-36 but only had a 1920 (28 equivalent) on the SAT, taken roughly at the same time as the 2nd ACT.

    The key is lots of practice.
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