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!