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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Preparing for the ACT/SAT. Part 2

Again a part of the TOS newsletter, I would like to share this encouraging post for the ACT/SAT testing. Please stop over at the TOS and sign up to recieve their newsletters. They are very encouraging. To sign up head over by clicking on this link http://thehomeschoolmagazine.com/ .  Please note that this post is Part 2 of 2.
Preparing for the ACT/SAT.  Part 2
By Stephanie Estabrooks

Tests! Due to different philosophies, some parents rely heavily on these in their homeschooling efforts, whereas others dislike assessing their children's progress in this manner. Regardless of their personal opinions, however, there comes a time when some parents and students have no choice but to face the challenge of the ultimate academic test: the college entrance examination. If your young adult has been called by God to attend college, there is practically no avoiding the ACT or SAT. Most colleges require one or the other.

Contemplating the impact that this single test can have on a high schooler's future often causes parents and students alike to feel overwhelmed and downright panicked. That is a normal reaction but not one that needs to persist for long! God is our source of peace and sustaining grace. Having had four high schoolers successfully travel through this process, I would like to share some suggestions that I've gleaned from books and personal experience that helped our family during this stage of their education.

First, you must realize that a student can and should study for this important test. In addition to prayer, one of the most effective ways to combat any fears and uneasiness associated with the ACT/SAT is to be as prepared as is reasonably possible.

 I believe that this task can be accomplished by following a few steps in a very intentional course of action.

1. Plan ahead: Choose a test date so that your student will have two to three months to prepare. Spreading the study period over a lengthy span of time lessens the daily impact so that the normal high school coursework can progress as usual. It also eliminates any need for last-minute cramming, which can be counterproductive and anxiety-producing!

2. Choose the right prep course for your student: There is no dearth of available materials! Much help is offered online ( www.actstudent.org, sat.collegeboard.org) and in hard copy, so you can choose either type of resource or both. My experience is exclusively with hard copy, and I strongly recommend that this format be used for at least a portion of the study. Whether you use printable tests available online or purchase prep books, your student should practice with tests that are exactly like the real exam, with the same number of questions and taken exactly the same way-with paper and pencil. Because the prep books are what I am accustomed to using, these form the basis of my suggested course of study. The two books that I specifically recommend are The Real ACT Prep Guide, third edition, published by Peterson's, and The Official SAT Study Guide, second edition, published by the College Board and Educational Testing Service. Both of these include multiple practice tests and were written by the people who design the official tests.

3. Study and practice: At the outset of the preparation, choose one test to evaluate your student's stronger and weaker areas of performance so as to eliminate any unnecessary study time. This may be done in one sitting or over several days. Next, design a plan that will help him work slowly and steadily through the book, as needed. As he progresses, make good use of the practice tests. These may each be divided into individual sections concentrating on those subjects that need the most work. Time each test so that your student can learn to pace his work well.

4. Administer one complete test: As the test date approaches, set aside a time to have your student take the entire test in one sitting, simulating the real testing experience. This requires a quiet atmosphere, and if possible, you can do this during the corresponding time of day the actual test will be given (i.e. starting rather early in the morning). The Saturday before is a good choice, for then you may allow your student a week of well-deserved rest!

In conclusion, I would like to offer an additional note of encouragement. Be sensitive throughout this preparation time as to whether your student is handling the schedule well. You want her to be prepared, not burned out. An adequate number of days, proper materials, and focused study at an appropriate pace can help your high schooler do her very best on the exam.

Stephanie Estabrooks

To view Part 1 of this post please click on this link: http://homeizcool101.blogspot.com/2011/09/preparing-your-child-for-actsat-part-1.html

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