In today’s competitive environment parents should do everything they can to help their child get top SAT/ACT scores. College entrance exams scores are critical for college acceptance and scholarships and the difference of a few hundred points on these exams could be the difference between acceptance or even a full scholarship. The good news is students don’t have to be a genius to score very well on these exams. However great scores are “earned” through hard work and preparation and this is what this article will focus on. I have personally tutored many, many students that scored great on the SAT/ACT math sections and I would like to share with you my rules and tips for success.
Rule 1. Don’t Cram
My first rule is do not cram! You must give yourself plenty of time to prepare for the SAT/ACT. I would suggest a minimum of 1 year but even two years is not unreasonable. The SAT/ACT is so important that you can’t assume or “gamble” that you will get lucky with top scores. Sure you could study for a few months and get respectable scores but if you want the “good stuff” i.e. full scholarships and acceptance into the very best universities you need to get high test scores- not that easy for most students. So figure out a schedule to study for the SAT/ACT for over a year and the results will pay off nicely.
Rule 2. Exam Prep Book
My second rule is you need to have a study book. If you go to your local book store you will see many I would suggest the Princeton Review or Kaplan study books with full practice exams. One of the keys of doing well on the SAT/ACT is getting used to the question format. Big companies like the Princeton Review have access to a large database of questions and these questions are very similar to what you will see on the exams. I have had many students report that they saw the exact same question in the exam prep book on the actual SAT/ACT! Make the investment and get yourself a test prep book – even an used one that’s not to old would suffice.
Rule 3. Don’t Answer All The Questions
My third rule is don’t answer all the questions. Now I’m sure these seems crazy as a tactic to score well on the SAT/ACT but I have recommend this tip with great success. You see most students run out of time on the math sections of the SAT/ACT. They see 25 questions to answer in 30 min and say “ I must answer all of these!” and the student attempts all questions. The problem with that is the student spends way too much time on questions they really don’t know how to solve- meaning they have less time for questions they probably can solve. Listen if a student can get 22 out of 25 questions all right they will get top SAT/ACT math scores. So what I have told students is they have 3 throw away questions to skip. This works great for the student because when they see a problem they don’t think they can solve they skip it. Of course they can only do this on two to three questions but they spend little to no time on impossible problems. The main benefit of doing this is they give themselves more time for the easier problems. Remember on the SAT (not ACT) you get a penalty for answering a question incorrectly so skipping a question is much better for your score than a wrong guess.
Rule 4. Practice More Than You Think
My next rule is you need to practice way more than you think. I think it’s human nature to “under prepare”. Most people including myself say I need to give my self x days to get ready for something. Then it happens at the end of x days I still have much more to do! I’m sure you know the feeling so my point is don’t relax on studying for the SAT/ACT. Have your child study more than they or you think they need to. Even if the test is a year away if you’re not really working hard studying you won’t get great results. So if you want to guarantee top exam scores study harder than you think and longer than you think is required for a perfect score.
Rule 5. Measure/ Review
My last rule to get ready for the SAT/ACT math sections is measure and review. You need to be tracking the type of questions you are getting wrong. For example if after taking 2 practice tests you see that most of your wrong answers are coming from geometry then you need to invest serious time to review geometry. Your child is too busy to do a complete and total review of every single topic in algebra 1 and geometry. The good news is they shouldn’t have to if they did pretty well in those courses. However by tracking your practice tests results I can assure you that you will be able to detect weak spots and more importantly improve them.
The SAT/ACT exam is a big deal for students and parents and it’s importance can’t be underestimated. I have a great track record in helping students do great on the SAT/ACT. From years of experience I have come to believe that all students can get excellent SAT/ACT scores if they start early and study smart. That old saying that “nothing good comes easy” is especially true for the SAT/ACT. Even top students have to put in the time and effort to earn top scores. But their work is never in vain because it’s usually these students that end up going to great schools on full scholarships. Your child can be one these students as well if you support them wisely- this article will help.