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Test Preparation without Getting Smarter

Test Preparation without Getting Smarter

Test Preparation without Getting Smarter

When the SAT or ACT is just a few days away, don't worry about getting smarter! Just prepare for the test. Sure, it would be great if every child was compliant, studied for the college admission tests with a willing and eager attitude, and scored above average, but we live in the real world. Sometimes the test is SOON and the child has ... potentially ... accidentally ... forgotten to study ... for good reason or no reason at all. When this happens, what can you do? Focus on the soft skills of test preparation, not the academic-based answers to the questions.

Here are my suggestions.

Focus on test preparation without getting smarter.

Become Familiar with the Test - give your child at least one full length test at home, timed, for practice, and then one section of a test each day for familiarity.

Adjust Sleep Cycles - make sure your child starts to get to bed earlier and gets up early, so they arrive to the real test more rested and ready.

Review the Homeschool Transcript Together - so the pre-test questions don't freak out your teen and make them feel like they have failed before they have even begun.

Find Your State Homeschool Code - so your child doesn't stress out about anything unrelated to their test score. Find homeschool codes here.

Eat a Breakfast with Protein - good nutrition will see your child through this stressful event.

Drink Water - research shows hydration improves brain function, so have your teen drink water in the morning and bring a water bottle to the test.

Bring a Healthy Snack - so when your child's energy fades, they have a healthy treat to re-energize before the next test section begins.

No Candy During Tests - the sugar high and crashing low are horrible for test scores, so no sugar of any kind during tests.

Bring 4 Sharpened Pencils - no matter how many pencils your child breaks, their test score won't be affected.

Bring a Familiar Calculator - be SURE to bring a calculator, the one they use every day and feel comfortable with, NOT the new one you just bought.

Identify Pick-up Location - not even one brain cell should be worrying about how they will get home, all brain cells should be available for the test.

Locate the Bathroom - one simple bathroom break can destroy a test score if your teen doesn't make it back to their seat before the timer starts

Pick an Answer - have your child choose one letter of the alphabet to always use when they shouldn't waste time on a question, and always use that answer when they don't have a clue.

Familiarity with the test will increase the test score even if they don't get smarter, because kids will get more comfortable with the format and how the questions are asked. Anything you can do to keep teens alert and rested will increase the test score without studying because it will allow their brain to fire on all cylinders. Nutrition and hydration improve brain function. Reducing stress levels will allow them to be as relaxed as possible in an already stressful situation.

Before or after the test, you may want to mention that the test is only an indication of certain academic abilities, it's not a reflection of what is truly important in this world. You may want to review this list of Character Qualities Not Measured by Tests. Good luck on the test!


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Reporting SAT Scores To Colleges

Reporting SAT Scores To Colleges

Reporting SAT Scores To Colleges

I was just talking to one of my Gold Care Club members about the cost of sending SAT scores to colleges. Without planning, it can get pricey

When you register for the SAT test, the student can indicate up to four college recipients during registration. Only four score sends are included with your registration; you have to pay to send additional scores. I believe that it is $11-$12 per college when you send additional scores.  You will have to pay that amount per college if you don't indicate colleges when you register, also, and if you have more that 4 colleges where you are applying.  You can learn more about score reporting from the college board here:

You can see how the cost of applying to college can add up quickly and be expensive.  Think of it as part of your "college budget" and an investment in college costs to reduce the overall amount you need to pay, and reduce the overall student loan you might need. If the cost is burdensome, you can request a fee waiver based on family income. Read more about that here:  Fee Waivers for Tests and Applications

When you take a test like the SAT, ACT, AP, SAT Subject Tests or CLEP, make sure your child has practiced and will score well before sending them to take the real test. The reason I suggest that is to make sure the colleges will see good scores being sent, not practice scores.  Take the test at home a few times, timed, so you know they will do well.  If your child has learning challenges, or you are not sure how they will perform during the test, then it may be worth it financially to wait until you see the scores before sending them to a college.

Let me save you some money on reporting test scores. It's cheaper to choose your four favorite colleges first, before they take the test, where you know your child will reply. Then make sure your child has prepared for the test, and that the "worst case scenario" scores really aren't that bad. Then, list those colleges when you register for the test, so the scores are sent directly while it is free. I suggest your student take the SAT or ACT twice in the spring of their junior year - so the second time, you will have the option of sending it to different colleges, in case your college choices have changed. Then in senior year, as you are applying to colleges, you will have fewer places where you must pay to send those scores.

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Does Your Child Need a Test Prep Tutor?

Does Your Child Need a Test Prep Tutor?

Does Your Child Need a Test Prep Tutor?

Are you wondering if your child needs a tutor for test prep? Click on Lee's video, below (or here) to help you decide whether to hire a tutor to help your child prepare for the SAT or ACT.

Are you in the midst of preparing your child for the SAT or ACT this year? Please share!

Subscribe to my YouTube channel. You will be notified when I create new videos on homeschool high school topics!

If you need help with tests such as the SAT or ACT, check out the High School Testing (Online Training) class for some help, just $15!
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Don't Get Smarter

Don't Get Smarter

Studying for the SAT and ACT: Don't Get Smarter

Great news! When you study for the SAT and ACT test, don't get smarter!
When you study for the test, you get awesomer, not smarter!

Practice makes perfect!

Studying can help you become more familiar with the test. You begin to learn more about how tests are written, and how they answer questions. After a while, questions become so familiar, you start to feel like you have somehow cheated, because the questions and the answer become easier and easier to you over time.

Test preparation can help you become more comfortable with a testing environment. As you use a timer to take practice sections, you'll become more comfortable with being timed, and can pace yourself through each section. You'll start to relax more, without being anxious waiting for the bell to ring, signaling you are done.

Preparing for the SAT or ACT can fill the tiny gaps that are inevitable. Everyone (everyone!) has gaps, whether they are in public school, private school, or homeschooled. By practicing for your test, you are asked little tiny questions you may not have thought of before. Once you get it wrong and look at the answer, presto! You know it and don't need to worry about it again.

Sample both, the SAT and ACT, choose one!

Choosing between the SAT and ACT before you even begin is the best way to increase your score without getting any smarter at all. Don't default to the SAT just because that's what your neighbors do. Sample both the SAT and ACT at home, when it doesn't matter. Take a sample of each in a timed setting with your slippers on at home, and see which one makes you naturally just LOOK smarter, just because of how the tests are written. Sure, many girls and science-lovers score better on the ACT, and many boys score better on the SAT, but what difference does that make? You are looking for the best test for YOUR child, and each child is unique. Use a sample test for find out which one is best.

Here is a Sample ACT
Here is a Sample SAT

Don't worry about getting smarter on these tests, just get awesomer! That awesomeness is a super-power that will help you get your best possible test score.

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