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SAT prep: 4 steps to a better score

The SAT is probably the most important exam a student will ever take. It can carry as much weight with college admissions officers as years’ worth of grades, and determine whether a student gets into a top-choice university. With pressure that intense, it’s easy for students to become stressed; some might even give up in the face of the challenge. However, the SATs don’t have to be a frightening experience. With the right preparation, students will go into the exam room with a confident attitude and come away with strong scores.

Every student tests differently, but certain strategies are sure to lead to better SAT results. One of those strategies is to simply recognize that everyone gets stressed in high-pressure situations, but that coping with that stress, and turning it into a positive motivation, should be the goal. Learning to deal effectively with stress shouldn’t be up to the student alone; guidance along the way is important.

With that in mind, these four steps can give students the confidence they need to take the SAT and show off their knowledge to the best of their abilities.

1. Get an early start. Cramming for a short quiz is one thing, but it should never be an option for the SAT. A test this important (and complex) means that studying should begin at least a couple of months in advance. Even if a student already does well in school, getting used to the SAT testing format and timing can lead to better results. Because the SAT is offered in October, November, December, January, March, May and June, many students opt to take it during the spring of their junior year. Some choose to re-take it in the fall of their senior year, after they’ve had even more time to prepare.

2. Use a tutor. Getting expert help can make all the difference between average and outstanding SAT scores. One-on-one tutoring from organizations like Huntington Learning Centers includes more than just sample questions. Students work with certified tutors to learn test-taking strategies that help them approach the test with self-assurance. Additionally, tutoring services from Huntington include the option to take multiple practice tests. 

3. Provide family support. When a student is the only one in the household preparing for the SAT, he or she might end up feeling alone in having to work so hard while everyone else is seemingly having fun. It’s important that families discuss the process of study and preparation, while assuring the student that his or her hard work is being noticed. Huntington Learning Center makes it easy for parents to take an active role by offering conferences together with the student and the tutor. For more information, students and parents can visit http://huntingtonhelps.com/program/sat.

4. Focus on wellness. A healthy mind and a healthy body go hand-in-hand. Studying late into the night and munching on junk food snacks can leave a student run down and not as mentally sharp as he or she needs to be. Make healthy eating, reasonable amounts of sleep and regular, fun exercise a priority for the whole family. Everyone will enjoy the benefits and it’s a great way to make a student feel like there’s more to life than SAT stress.

There’s no doubt about it – the SATs are important and can have an effect on a student’s future. With the right preparation, the test will look less like something to fear and more like an opportunity to succeed.

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