Kate Foster, the director of S.A.T. programs for the Kaplan Educational Center, offers tips for parents on helping college entrance test-takers do their best:
• Talk with your child. What type of skills does she need to brush up on? What will she need to prepare for these tests?
• Educate yourself. Don’t just sign your child up for a college prep course or give him a prep booklet. Learn about the process of test taking, so you can empathize. Monitor seminars. Read booklets.
• Determine which tests are needed. Some colleges accept both the S.A.T. and the A.C.T. Some students must submit subject proficiency tests.
• Urge your child to take the P.S.A.T. This test—taken in the fall of the junior year—is needed to qualify for certain scholarships. It also helps students prepare for the S.A.T.
• Get help. Is the school guidance counselor able to meet your child’s needs for assessment and information?
• Support your child’s choice of preparation. Some students do well practicing on their own. Others need guidance from tutors or from test prep courses.
• Try to relieve anxiety. Help your child put the test in perspective. It isn’t the only thing between her and college.
• Cover the basics. Make sure your child gets plenty of sleep the night before the test. Tell him to eat a good breakfast, wear comfortable clothes and a watch. He should bring a photo I.D. and #2 pencils.
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