Parents: Here’s How You Can Motivate Your Child To Study for the SAT
You know standardized tests like the SAT are important for college admissions, but sometimes you kids may have trouble getting motivated to prepare for them. Does your student need an extra push to get going? Here are five tips for getting your student’s head in the college game.
Have the “College Talk” Early
At the beginning of high school, discuss the importance of the next four years with your student. While she may not be thinking about college just yet, it’s important for her to understand how what she does now will have a longer-term effect on her future.
Discuss your child’s college and longer-term goals, and create a plan for making these aspirations a reality. The plan should incorporate many of her high school experiences: activities, grades, relationships with teachers and mentors—and test prep.
This conversation will help your child understand the bigger picture and how what she does—or doesn’t do—now will help her succeed in the future.
Make Sure Your Child Creates a Study Routine Early
Start ensuring that your student forms good study and organizational habits freshman year. (For some ideas, check out 6 Ways for a High School Freshman to Get on Track in the New Year.) That way, when SAT test time rolls around, she will already have a good foundation for knowing how to prepare for the exam.
Organization is key. Working on building structures to help your student stay organized. She may find it helpful to use a planner or calendar.
Suggest Study Strategies
Perhaps you have certain methods you use to help you prepare for important projects and meetings. Your child can adapt some of these techniques for preparing for the SAT.
You can also suggest other systems. Taking SAT practice tests is one useful way for your student to prepare. You can act as proctor to simulate a real testing environment.
Outside resources, such as using books or SAT tutors, can also be helpful. Check out Parents: Tips for Teaming Up with Your Student on SAT/ACT Test Prep for more advice.
Have a Reward System
When we say reward, we don’t mean you should bribe your child with a car if she gets a certain score. Instead offer smaller rewards. For instance, you might extend curfew by an hour if she spends a certain number of hours preparing for the SAT in a given day, watch an hour of TV with her after a particularly long studying session, or make her favorite dinner.
An even better motivation system is reminding your student about intrinsic rewards. After all, studying now will help her achieve her goals later.
Preparing Your Child for Test Success
Some students may be self-motivated to prepare for the SAT. Others may need an extra push.
Making your child understand the purpose of the SAT and it fits into the bigger picture can help her see the point and motivate her to take it seriously. Take some time to map out a plan and work with your child to develop strategies. It can go along way in helping her get to where she needs to be.
For more tips, read What Parents Need to Know About SAT and ACT Studying Prep.
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