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A summer study plan to help your child with ACT/SAT prep

Carolyn Rahaman is a professional SSAT tutor and contributing writer for Varsity Tutors. She holds a Master's degree in Learning Sciences from Northwestern University.

Use the summer months to your student's advantage by developing a prime SAT/ACT prep plan.

mother studying with son

Photo credit: JGI/Jamie Grill/Blend Images/Getty Images

The summer months present an ideal opportunity to work with your child on test prep. The average student lacks academic stimulus during the summer recess, and reviewing for the ACT or SAT can help to ensure that your child's school skills remain sharp until August or September. Although your student must assume responsibility for his or her prep to truly be successful, there are a number of ways in which you can assist him with his ACT/SAT study plan.

Emphasize the importance of consistency

Powerful study plans are consistent study plans. Your child's schedule will be unique to his learning style and needs, both in frequency (i.e. twice per week) and length (i.e. 60 minutes per session). Encourage your student to decide upon a schedule that works for him, and then to honor it.

Provide the proper atmosphere

Equip your child for success by providing him with a quiet environment to review in that is free of interruptions. Drive your student to the library, or visit the park with his siblings. When the whole family is accommodating and supportive, confidence and motivation can flourish.

Seek the appropriate tools

Offer to help your child with his ACT/SAT test prep. Time his practice exams, and ensure that he adheres to test-day procedures. You can also assist your student by searching for sample tests and supplemental study materials. Practice exams are somewhat limited in number; allow your child to continue reviewing while you locate them.

Demonstrate interest in his or her progress

To truly improve, your student must study both concepts he answers incorrectly on sample tests and concepts that leave him uneasy. He may claim to understand an equation or a term; ask your child to explain that information to you in his own words. Alternately, he may continually answer a type of problem correctly, but he may feel insecure. Advise your student to be confident, and remind him that he is capable of doing well on the ACT/SAT.

Assist with time management

Often, high-schoolers struggle with timing on the ACT or SAT. Encourage your child to address time management in his summer study plan. Suggest that he begin by completing small sections of the exam, such as 10 problems or a single reading comprehension passage, and have him time himself until his pace is strong. These "sprints" can teach your student the rhythm that he must utilize. On the other hand, many students begin to slow as they struggle through practice tests. Ask your child to complete stamina practice, including sitting for entire sample exams at once, and practicing skills to keep his attention sharp, his anxiety under control and his drowsiness to a minimum.

The summer months can be a fruitful time for ACT/SAT prep. Begin on the best foot possible by helping your student develop a strong study plan.

For more tips and strategies to help your student succeed in school, visit www.varsitytutors.com.

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