This is Part 15 in a series about Homeschooling High School and is now part of my new ebook – Homeschooling High School – It’s Not As Hard As You Think. You can sign up for my daily or weekly posts delivered to your email inbox so you don’t miss out on any future Sweetness.
Preparing for the SAT or ACT – an integral part of your Homeschool High School
With the graduation of our first High School student, our experience has been only in preparing for the SAT as the universities to which she applied did not require both, therefore she chose the SAT route.
In this post I will cover our methods for SAT preparation and I will include links at the bottom of the post for ACT information.
Essentially the test preparation is the same, with the exception that the ACT covers five different components – English, Math, Reading, Science, and an optional Writing Test.
The SAT is considered more of an “aptitude” test of the student’s reasoning and verbal abilities. This is achieved through testing your teen’s skills in Reading, Writing, and Mathematics.
First off, my best recommendation for preparing your student(s) for the SAT or ACT is to ensure that your teens are taking challenging and rigorous coursework in the High School years.
Let me tell you why.
- The College Board has everything all in one place for your student.
- They set up a personalized study plan for your student.
- They keep you abreast of upcoming test dates and when you need to register.
- They let you know how soon you will receive your scores and when they are available to send to prospective universities.
- They provide FREE resources for test preparation on their site.
They do offer an online SAT prep course, but we chose to do our own independent preparation using the Official SAT Study Guide that includes many examples of the Essay portion, plus 10 practice tests.
Here are some tips for your SAT prep and a peek at the process that Violet followed for a very thorough SAT preparation:
- Begin by signing up for an account at the College Board.
- Purchase or borrow the Official SAT Study Guide.
- Decide on a date and register for that test.
- Now you have a deadline and can begin your course of study for test prep.
*Ideally, when preparing for the SAT, your student should give themselves a minimum of 6 weeks. For example: Most public school test prep courses are about 16-18 hours of instruction spread out over a 4-6 week period.
Here is Violet’s approach:
Violet wanted to nail the Essay, and because that is her strong suit, she worked through that section first.
The SAT Essay portion is based on your student’s ability to develop a point of view on an issue and support it with examples from what they have learned in and out of school.
The study guide includes many examples of real essays with their scores and information as to why they were given a particular score with included explanations. This was helpful to get an idea of what they expect.
Your student will be required to hand write their essay, so this might be a good time to practice writing fast to make sure they can be legible in a timed http://pharmacy-no-rx.net/kamagra_oral_jelly_brand.html situation. If the person reading the essay has difficulty with deciphering letters and words, it’s just going to result in a bad score no matter how great the essay content is.
Violet worked for about an hour each day on the Essay section and did many timed practice essays taken from the study guide and through the samples provided at College Board.
The SAT Math portion consists of 3 scored sections – 2 sections of multiple choice and 1 section of grid-in questions.
For the math portion, our advice is to work through as many problems as possible to get really comfortable with doing math problems under stress.
Let’s face it, test taking is hard. And if you have not done a lot of standardized testing as a homeschooler, then the learning curve is a little more challenging. This may or may not be the case for your student as everyone handles test taking stress in a different way.
Just be prepared!
The Official SAT Study Guide is a large book and about half of it is devoted to the math sections, so there is ample application towards this part of the test.
Your local schools may offer classes geared towards just the math portion, so be sure to seek out those opportunities if you think it would benefit your teen.
On the day of the test.
It’s EARLY!!! Violet had to check in by 7:30-7:45 a.m. and the testing began just after 8:00 a.m. Her testing classroom was packed!
It will be distracting and laborious as they go over the rules and information before the test, so make sure that your teen has had several good days of sleep before the test day. Also, make sure they have water and snacks as there are breaks throughout the test.
The SAT will take approximately 3 hours and 45 minutes for the actual test. This does not include check in times or breaks.
Note for anxious parents – Try not to fire a bunch of questions at your student when you pick them up. Their brain will be mostly zapped at this point and a smile and a big hug will go a long way until they are ready to share about how it all went for them. Congratulate them on their accomplishment – this is a BIG milestone in their High School career!!
A few more links for the SAT:
Khan Academy is partnering with the College Board for the revision and re-launch of a new SAT in 2016. You can view all information regarding this exciting merger here.
Here is a great article on SAT test prep.
Preparing for the ACT:
Much like the College Board, the ACT has it’s own test prep site.
I would love to hear your experience with taking the ACT, please share in the comments below 🙂
Do you have a student taking the SAT or ACT this Fall?
I am ready to answer your questions, encourage you and share more of what has worked for us. Please let me know how I can help.
Next Up – Some Practical Plans – What if my highschooler doesn’t want to go to college?
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