My son won't study for PSAT

<p>My son just got his PSAT score back. He is a Sophmore and this is what he got:
CR- 69
M- 65
W- 64
TOTAL: 198</p>

<p>From what I read on line, I think this is a pretty good score for a sophmore. I really want him to do well next year to qualify for National Merit Scholarship, but he is very lazy and knowing him he would never study for SAT or PSAT. I bought a College Board SAT Prep book for him last summer and he has not even once opened it. It is just sitting there on his desk collecting dust. I am hoping for a miracle that he will score at least 220 next year so he can qualify for NMS, but I don't see how it would be possible if he doesn't want to study. I don't even know how he can study for it? What do you mean by studying for PSAT or SAT? Can someone tell me how did you study for your SAT or PSAT? Do you think my son has a chance to get to 2200 next year if he doesn't do anything to prepare for these exams? I am sad when I read on line that people actually spent time to study for their PSATs and SATs. My son would careless about spending his time for these exams. He takes all Pre-AP and AP classes in school and is a good student based on his grades, but I hardly ever see him study. All he does is playing computer games and video games. I think he is addicted to these games. Should I enroll him into one of these SAT prep classes as a way of forcing him to study? I would rather not because they are expensive but I don't see of another way. Can anyone give me some suggestions?</p>

<p>Studying means practice. It's the best kind of studying for P/SAT. The classes aren't very helpful. And this is going to sound very disrespectful, especially since I'm only 16, but the only way for you to get him to study is to control your son. If all he does is play video games, take them away. You are the parent.</p>

<p>I do not suggest any SAT prep classes. As the poster above said, studying is simply practicing and CAREFULLY reviewing your answers/mistakes afterwards.</p>

<p>I agree with Jason. Exert control over your son and sign him up for an SAT program, if that's what it takes to get him to study. And chances are that he will NOT get a 2200 without studying.</p>

<p>Forcing someone to study is pointless. No worthwhile results will result.</p>

<p>Prep courses aren't the best of quality (especially national companies like Princeton Review and Kaplan) but they succeed in forcing kids (to an extent) to practice and learn something. If it takes a course to get your son to study, try finding a local program; those tend to be better (for example, one program in my area is taught by highly-regarded high school teachers who love their jobs).</p>

<p>Unfortunately, your son probably won't want to study; nagging him will only discourage him more. Maybe introduce him to CC or have some of his friends bug him about his score. If his friends scored better than he did, that may motivate him enough to get himself started; you (and other family) can work with him to improve his scores. But from the perspective of a teenage boy, nagging certainly will not work.</p>

<p>A few things: </p>

<p>1) too early to begin studying now. If you want him to do well on the PSAT next fall, I would plan on a study program beginning around May 1.</p>

<p>2) you seem to be expecting him to do this studying all on his own, which, unfortunately in your case is like buying your S a bunch of textbooks and expecting him to do HS on his own. Not happening. </p>

<p>3) you don't need a course, because you can guide this effort yourself with a little planning. With S, I went through the (Barron's) SAT review book and figured out how many sections we needed to review each week in order to cover the Review book in 5 months (he did this Jan-May of his Junior year, not for the PSAT). </p>

<p>Several times per week, I would have S sit down and read over some material that I chose and do some problems/questions. We jumped around in the book from day to day to keep it from getting too tedious. I would check his answers and we would chat about it as needed. I tried to keep these "study sessions" to 30 minutes or less, and to leave him mostly on his own in the dining room to work (a la no tv or computer). </p>

<p>I also had him read 20-30 vocabulary words from the 3500 word list (we were using Barron's), every day if possible, and circle words he didn't recognize to look back at later. If his vocabulary is already decent, this only takes about 10 minutes. It can be done in the car, or at breakfast, or while you are getting dinner, etc. You can get involved by giving him words and having him try to tell you what they mean. </p>

<p>As we got closer to the actual exam, like the last 3 weeks, I "assigned" him sections from the practice exams and timed them. The first 3 practice exams were done in parts on different days, with each part being timed. The last 3 practice exams he did the entire exam in one sitting.</p>

<p>In addition to the review book, S reads a great deal, which is good for vocabulary, grammar, etc. </p>

<p>After all this, S took the exam one time, scored 2210, took the ACT with no additional study, and scored 34. YMMV, but if your S is reasonably smart, he can do fine.</p>

<p>1) Sign him up for the May or June SAT...and pay the extra for the detailed score report and test booklet. Use that score report and test booklet to have him go over what he got wrong.</p>

<p>2) What is important to your son? I could get my sons to practice for the PSAT, SAT and ACT by "dangling a carrot." For each of my boys, money for them and a friend to go to the movies (with soda and popcorn) was enough to get them practicing. I would say something like....If you do a practice test and check your answers this Saturday morning, then this afternoon I'll pay for you and a friend to go to the movies. </p>

<p>For your son, some other "carrot" may work. What's important to him? A new video game? A trip somewhere? For girls it can be a new pair of shoes...LOL... BTW...you don't GIVE the carrot, until AFTER the child has done the work. Promises to do the work "later" is NOT going to work. </p>

<p>3) Also....I don't know what your financial situation is like, but if your son thinks/believes that you're going to pay full-freight no matter where he goes to college, then he's going to see less incentive to improve his scores.</p>

<p>4) The PSAT score report has a number on it to go online and get the questions. He can use the PSAT score report to see what and why he got various answers wrong.</p>

<p>
[quote]
1) Sign him up for the May or June SAT...and pay the extra for the detailed score report and test booklet. Use that score report and test booklet to have him go over what he got wrong.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Just as a side note, the detailed score report and test booklet (the Question and Answer Service, aka QAS) is not available for the June administration (though it is available for May).</p>

<p>See this link: SAT</a> Scores - Student Answer Verification Services</p>

<p>FWIW, DS spent some (not a ton) of time on the official online SAT course from College Board - a lot less than a course, but more directed than just using a self-study book. He probably spent 10-15 hours total, in the month before the test. His score went from 211 (sophomore) to 235 (junior). His SAT in November wasn't quite in line with that (2200), so he'll spend a bit more time with it this spring to see if he can get close to 2300 the second time he takes it.</p>

<p>My line of reasoning to him? "You can spend the time doing test prep so that you're competitive for scholarships, or you can spend the time writing scholarship essays." (I know, he'll have to do some of that too...) We're definitely not in a position to pay full-freight. That was compelling enough to get him to spend the time...although I have to say that it helped that his sophomore score was close to the cutoff for our state, so he knew it was a very manageable goal.</p>

<p>^ Very good advice. I got a book from the library with SAT practice tests. DD2 didn't want to do anything with it. I told her should could do that (I was only making her go through one over the summer so she could see the slant of the questions) or she could find a job worth 1/2 scholarship over 4 years. :)</p>

<p>OP--You've bought the book. That is the first step. Would he be motivated by the chance of getting a big scholarships or the honor of being a NMF? Can you help him schedule practice tests at home next summer, help time the sections, score and go over missed questions with him? If you're not able to do this, maybe you could hire a tutor/student who scored well last year to help. He just needs the discipline,time management,organization to actually do the work. Most students won't do it on their own. They need encouragement and someone to work with them. Could you offer him a reward for each practice test completed? Or take away computer privileges until he completes the tests?</p>

<p>Think of it like athletic training. How many hundreds of hours do athletes spend perfecting their sports--not for scholarships, often, but just for the chance to compete and the thrill of winning?</p>

<p>It is worth investing 100+ hours in "training" for this test, which could be worth big scholarships ($50-80,000+ at some schools). That is a big "per-hour" payment!</p>

<p>I don't think a group class would benefit your kid much. His score is already pretty high--he just needs to take more practice tests and focus on his weak areas.</p>

<p>My situation was eerily similar to your son. My PSATs were close to that, maybe a little better but not by a lot. I am also incredibly lazy, but relatively intelligent thank god. I didn't take any SAT prep courses, and the most studying I did for the SAT was answering the SAT question of the day sent out by college board. I did those for about 2 months leading up to the test. This is not nearly as much as I should have, or as much as an average student, but it was what I felt like doing at the time. I got a 1900/2400 and a 1340/1600. Is it possible for him to get in the 2200 range? In my opinion it would be really tough. I feel like if I had studied more or took a prep course I could have boosted my CW score and maybe got in the 2000 range.</p>

<p>Your son is pretty much like how I was in sophomore year. I received a 203 on sophomore PSAT, and likewise, my mom became overly concerned about my studying. Just like your son, I was a heavy gamer, and I rarely studied (didn't feel I needed to, as is probably the case for your son). Since your son is in pre-AP and AP, he's probably the type of kid who knows his future. He's probably aware that he needs to prepare, and doesn't need to be pushed too hard.</p>

<p>Now, this is what happened to me. I had fun for the rest of sophomore year until summer of sophomore-junior year, when I did an internship at Columbia. Every day I would go, and come back studying for SAT, with the ultimate goal of getting a 2400. As for how, I started out with prep books and started studying for grammar and math. SAT math, as I soon realized, was something I didn't need to "study" for, because I knew how to do every problem in the book. After two weeks, I began practice tests, roughly 1-2 per week and continued these until summer ended. As I learned from Xiggi, as well as many members on this site, only practice makes perfect. I also used Direct Hits, a vocab book, to study while I was waiting on the bus/subway during my commute. So by September, I was probably in the consistent 2200-2300 range. I took the SAT in October, and the PSAT a week after the SAT. As for why, I found it absolutely necessary to obtain the Question-Answer-Service, and I really didn't care for the PSAT at that point. I scored 2210 on the SAT and 226 on the PSAT. All it took for me, at least, was a summer of studying. And, it was all self-motivated. </p>

<p>My parents continue to annoy me about my "bad" scores whenever I take some time off to play some games. But they never really had to remind me once. I still continue to study, by my own will, a little bit each day for the SAT, and my practice test scores have risen to >2300 occasionally. I'm still reaching for a 2400, but I'd be more than happy with a 2300.</p>

<p>Everyone's different, but you might as well ask your son if he's motivated, or if he's ever planning to study. If he's like me, you should loosen up a bit and cut him some slack, at least until the summer. But if there's one thing I regret about this story of mine, it's not studying for school tests during sophomore year. Only now, in junior year, have I begun to actually seriously study for tests, and I realize now that if had only studied a bit more for math or science in sophomore year I would have definitely gotten a more competitive GPA (A+ instead of A). </p>

<p>A short aside to the prep school debate. I didn't mention that my mom forced me into a prep course during the summer. It met once a week, for 4 weeks and I have to say, it was an absolute waste of money. I learned nothing. The only good thing I got out of was some practice tests, but I really could have done them in my own time without sitting in the same room with other kids who scored 300+ points lower than me and review easy questions for hours. Get the Official Study Guide, buy some PSAT's, and download some QAS's. Doing practice tests on your own is a far cheaper and more effective way to study.</p>

<p>My daughter just got done with the psat. 209-junior</p>

<p>We did the princeton SAT on-line prep class. The focus of having a prescribed time was the structure that my d needed. </p>

<p>I would guess that her 209 will not be nms for next year. I wish she would have done a sat before the psat and i am guessing it would have added a few points.</p>

<p>My D studied over the summer with a group of friends. They did a test a week, usually a section at a time, and then met and discussed what they got wrong. They also quizzed each other on vocabulary. All scores went up, some more than others. My daughter's went up 20 points, and one boy's went from a 158 to a 199. They griped about studying and yet had fun, together. After school started, they stopped meeting. Summer before junior is the time to start, although paging through Direct Hits now couldn't hurt. We kept a copy in the bathroom.</p>

<p>rural56...what state are you in?</p>

<p>Actually 209 was the cut off so right now she is a nmsf. She just got back her sat with a 2110.</p>

<p>I think a lot of high schoolers' "motivation" to study (for anything) comes from their parents, and it's very rare to find teenagers who will place a love of learning above other, more enticing things, like the love of video games.</p>

<p>The most genuine and convincing source of motivation for most successful students I know was that they recognized that the SAT (and the PSAT, and doing well in school, etc.) was their ticket to having options during my senior year of my life after graduation. A strong applications means you have your pick of big schools, small schools, out-of state schools, private schools, and scholarship packages. </p>

<p>It's very striking to me, during the month or so of every high school students' senior year that acceptance/rejection letters rolled in, that students who weren't really into studying or anything school-related, seemed a bit resentful about the fact that they were basically stuck with one school that they didn't like very much, and were in stark comparison to the ones who were lucky enough to have their pick. I think that sort of freedom to choose, as opposed to having your future chosen for you, is worth the hard work, and I think many students (post-high school, post-college) would agree.</p>

<p>
[quote]
I think a lot of high schoolers' "motivation" to study (for anything) comes from their parents, and it's very rare to find teenagers who will place a love of learning above other, more enticing things, like the love of video games.

[/quote]

The automatic assumption of such is one of the biggest resentments I have about my own parents. While it is true that a lot of high schoolers don't inherently care about learning, there is also a good number who will study on their own, and my parents pooling the two groups together is something that I personally find irritating.</p>

<p>Video games should be treated as any other activity for leisure: sports, music, reading, chess. We aren't in a society where nobody has free time, and certainly not in one where Tiger Moms are the norm.</p>

<p>Of course, I'm actually in high school myself, so my opinion is obviously biased.</p>