On the ACT and SAT reading tests, taking control of the passages is key. One way to own them is by marking up the text with notes and indicators that will not only keep you focused on the reading at hand but also make it easier to flip back from the questions and find what you’re looking for. Think of the markups as breadcrumbs that will help you find the way “home” faster—that is, if “home” is a cabin on the edge of the woods full of all the right answers.
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We’ve all been there. Test day comes and so do our worries about whether we’ve studied the right materials and practiced our test-taking strategies enough to score well. Then, test-taking anxiety and self-doubt start to creep in as multiple-choice answers for the first question all seem to be kind of correct.
Throughout elementary school, junior high and high school, your child has endured standardized testing. But college entrance exams are a different beast altogether. The SAT, for example, is a massive set of subtests that take four hours to complete (let alone complete well). That can be daunting.
As your child prepares for the SAT, ACT or PSAT, he or she is — maybe for the first time ever — tasked with getting ready for a singular test that directly determines the course of the future. Those are high stakes, indeed.
Fortunately, by learning effective test-taking strategies, your child can feel confident and conquer the ACT or SAT test. Help your child avoid being one of the many fear-stricken students who let the pressure get the best of them with the following SAT and ACT test-taking strategies and ACT/SAT test-anxiety tips. They’re proven ways to improve your child’s performance on either college entrance exam:
Test-Taking Strategy #1: Ensure Your Child Has Adequate Content Knowledge
The SAT and the ACT test are designed to determine your child’s readiness to handle a college academic workload. These college entrance exams require relatively high levels of content knowledge, core academic skills and cognitive ability.
Encourage your student to sign up for challenging courses early in high school. By taking the regular sequence of classes, your child will gain the knowledge necessary to score well on an ACT or SAT test.
The only way to truly know if your child has adequate content knowledge is to take an ACT or SAT practice test. But just practicing isn’t enough; it’s also important to examine the answer explanations to understand the reason for any mistakes.
Side note: When colleges consider a student’s readiness, they take into account the student’s college entrance exam scores, grades, and coursework. If the student’s coursework reflects college preparatory classes, this is one of three central indicators that he is prepared to be successful in his college curriculum.