You are capable of more than you know (unknown).

            Parents have asked my thoughts on using summer time for high schoolers to do SAT or ACT preparation work.  As a life coach, I feel that this has to be a goal that the teenager wants to do.  If the parent is driving the studying for the SAT/ACT exam, then the teenager will not be motivated.   The work will be done…by the teenager, but not with the intent to learn but rather the intent to not have mom or dad asking if the work was done or suspending privileges if study prep for these exams are not done to a parent’s satisfaction.  I make the suggestion that parents and their teenager should have an honest discussion about SAT and ACT prep work over the summer. If the parents feel that is a valuable use of time, they need to explain to their teenager why this preparation is necessary.  I also encourage parents to be honest on how much work they expect their teenager to do on a daily or weekly basis in preparing for these tests.  There should not be any surprise or miscommunication.  Clear goals and expectations are important.  Just as the parent states their goals, the teenager also is given the same courtesy  to express their interpretation and need for studying for the SAT/ACT exam.  The teenager must be able to decide on the goal for studying, how often and what the expectation is for doing this preparation work and studying.  Most importantly the teenager must want to do it and be committed to doing the work.

 The next discussion needs to be how to prepare.  There are many resources that help with preparing for the SAT/ACT test.  The latest books are available at your local bookstore and of course Amazon.  Personal tutors are also an option, and finally numerous online resources are available.  I encourage parents and teenagers, if they are in agreement on studying over the summer, to reach out to their school college counselor on helping them to find the most accurate and helpful resources for their learning.  I also explain that it may be a combination of learning resources and perhaps a weekly meeting on how the preparation is going would be a great idea. 

            Summer is a good time for test preparation. Students have fewer conflicts with their academics, sports teams, and other extracurriculars.  Concepts from the school year are still fresh in their minds, and they haven’t experienced summer learning loss. Also, senior year can be very hectic ,and carving out time in the summer to study may be advantageous. Taking practice tests is the best way for high schoolers to become familiar with the SAT and ACT college entrance exams. It can give them insight on how they might score and help uncover areas they need to work on. It also opens up the possibility of contacting an SAT/ACT tutor if there are areas that need to be addressed.  For some students doing practice SAT and ACT tests alleviates the anxiety associated with the test and boosts confidence that they know what to expect when they walk into the exam.  It is reassuring to know the process of the SAT or ACT test and the expectation of the testing day.

            Parents also ask me, which test.  I suggest looking at the school your child is interested in attending and determining what they require.  I also refer the parents to their high school college counselor for insight and direction on which test to take.  As well, some schools no longer require either test and that is also an option the teenager needs to explore.  This preparation and test taking is part of the larger conversation of which college, and needs to include college counselors as well. 

 Is this for every teenager? No. I tell parents that this is an individual decision based on their teenager, lifestyle, and expectations.  It is easy to focus on what everyone else is doing, when the focus must be, what will create the future and the success that my teenager needs.

 Without the pressures of school, your teen may find it easier to carve out the three-hour blocks of time needed to complete the practice tests.  I know that is a lot of time.  They can also carve out smaller chunks of time to work on the different sections. 

Summer’s longer, lazier days can also open up more time for pleasure reading—which helps with vocabulary and reading comprehension skills.

While standardized tests aren’t at the top of anyone’s summer fun list, using these months to prepare can lessen the stress of the tests in the long run. The more familiar your teen is with the tests, the more comfortable and confident they will be about taking them.”