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7 Ways to Help Your Child with the SAT

Love it or hate it, the SAT is part of education. While it is only one variable to measure student achievement, it carries significant weight.

With so much pressure placed on exam performance, SAT can be a tough time for students. So what can a parent do? How can mom or dad help their son or daughter tackle such a major undertaking?

If your child is faced with the prospect of taking the SAT, here are seven ways you can provide a path towards success:

1) Get Engaged: this goes without saying. Getting engaged is the first step towards successful parenting on any level. The fact that you’re reading this means you’re on the right track. Talk to your child about the test. Find out what resources are available at school and in the community. Check and get educated. And keep up the dialogue. Your teenager may not like the intrusion, but your support is absolutely crucial.

2) Find the End: the “end” of the SAT is the goal score your son or daughter needs to get into the school of their choice. Most schools publish the average SAT scores of their incoming students on their website. Pick three or four schools that interest your son or daughter and find out their average SAT score. This score is now the goal and everything you and your child do needs to be focused on that score.

3) Research the Options: you don’t need to be an expert and you don’t need to know all of the answers. In fact, it is better if you don’t have all of the answers so you can engage with your son or daughter to learn more (see #1). Part of the research is to understand what your son or daughter wants. The other part is how to get there.

4) Set Realistic Expectations: you can shoot for the moon and keep high expectations, but it’s also important to understand the reality of the SAT test. The SAT is only one, isolated measurement that does not define a person. This point is extremely important if your son or daughter is not a good test taker. Understand your options (see #3) and focus on keeping as many options open as possible.

5) Stay Positive: the SAT is such a mental test that a positive mindset, especially from mom or dad, can be the difference between success and failure. Remember, it’s never the end of the world if the performance fails to meet expectations. There are many, many alternatives and a variety of solutions to you and your child’s needs.

6) Follow the Study Plan: part of being engaged means knowing the plan. You may not remember your algebra skills and you might not have an expanded SAT vocabulary, but believe it or not, this matters little. Support is what matters. Support is one million times more important than the correct answers. Whatever study plan your child chooses, follow it. Check in with him or her. See how things are going and ask how you can support.

7) Set a Good Example: the impact of role modeling needs little explanation. Your child is your reflection, for better or worse. Set the tone for success with your actions and success will follow.

Ultimately, supporting your son or daughter on the SAT is no different that supporting him or her in whatever they do. If you are plugged into their needs, success is possible.

So get engaged. If you don’t know where to start, share this page with your son or daughter today. Better yet, do it right now. The earlier you start, the better.

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