Parent Survival Guide: Helping your child prep for the SAT and ACT

Updated: Mar. 9, 2020 at 7:11 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - If you have a child in high school you probably had the talk about going to college.

If you have started the conversation, another important one to have is preparing for the SAT and ACT college admissions exams.

There is no magic formula to getting a great score on the ACT or the SAT.

If you do want to help your teen do well Gailia Mercer-Brown, who’s the school counseling coordinator for Dorchester District Two schools, says test prep should begin months or even years in advance of taking the test.

“Many of our schools offer workshops where students can come in, and a resource is available to look at resources and strategies they can use to work on improving their score,” says Mercer-Brown.

She says test taking is a skill that has to be developed. There are many options available to help your child.

There are SAT and ACT books that kids can check out at the library or purchase online, self-paced free online prep courses, or for a fee, there’s customized one-on-one tutoring.

Whatever method you choose she says it’s important to have test taking strategies to improve a score.

“The plus is both of those assessments no longer penalize for guessing, so sometimes parents choose one over the other for that fact," says Mercer-Brown."But they now no longer penalize for guessing."

Colleges and universities accept either the SAT or ACT test, but it’s in a student’s best interest to take both.

She says it’s also important to take practice exams and go to any parent informational test sessions at your child’s high school.

“You have a rep from ACT or college pre to provide information and what they have at cost to help students prepare for the assessment. A lot of times students are able to look at results and do test interpretations and go to online resources and develop customizable prep online to see how they can help moving forward,” says Mercer-Brown.

She says parents play a big role in your child’s success.

Mercer-Brown says encourage your child to focus on areas of strength, and help them build confidence in test taking. She says there are also high-quality test prep resources available for free online.

Khan Academy has partnered with The College Board, which produces the SAT. They offer free SAT prep online.

ACT also offers free help with study guides and online practice tests for both the SAT and ACT.

You can go to Kaplan Test Prep for that information.

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