Five tips to better prepare your students for the SAT/ACT

African American student studying while sitting in the library.

Here are five useful tips to help equip them for the big day.

As you’re aware, the SAT and ACT are right around the corner. By now your students may feel comfortable in the standardized test arena, but may not feel confident about the two with the biggest stakes. Here are five useful tips to help equip them for the big day.

  1. Provide a study workbook. One thing that makes the SAT and ACT different is their unique format and timing. For this reason, we recommend SAT and ACT workbooks, found online or at your local bookstore. By letting students get familiar with practice test materials, they can master its cadence in a penalty-free space. That way they won’t be caught off guard on the big day.
  2. Recharge for optimum performance. Strongly encourage your students to get at least eight or nine hours of rest before the big day. As with any test, a student’s mind needs to be performing at its best, especially on the day of the exam.
  3. Offer an SAT prep class. Give your students an early jump on studying so they know the material along with the layout of the test beforehand. SAT preparatory classes are provided online or at most schools, and offer the ability to hone in on test-taking skills while boosting confidence. As you know, the tests don’t measure what students can cram in the week before, but instead, what students have learned throughout their education.
  4. Provide a reading list. The SAT is more language-focused than the ACT. It’s also chock full of words that your students may be unfamiliar with – that’s because a percentage of language is pulled from colloquialisms, region-specific nouns, or terms that don’t see much light in 2015. But this doesn’t mean you need to cram a ton of vocabulary lessons into their daily routine. Classic literature can help students improve their comprehension skills as well as expand their vocabulary.
  5. Guessing vs. skipping. In the past, guessing on the SAT was not recommended because it could hurt a student’s score. However, starting this year, the SAT has taken a new approach to the grading system and will only be counting the correct answers — just like on the ACT. Whichever test they’re taking, instruct your students to go ahead and give a difficult question their best guess instead of skipping ahead.

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