By request: How to prepare homeschoolers for SAT.
How to Prepare Homeschoolers for SAT
For my homeschool high schoolers, one of the least favorite parts of these years was the dread of the SAT exam. Know any teens who feel the same?
A number of colleges have dropped SAT requirements for college entrance, relying more heavily on other things like college essays, recommendations or well-rounded high school transcripts. However, many colleges still want those SAT scores and often, those scores will determine access to some scholarships.
So, many teens will need to continue planning on taking the SAT. So how can you prepare your homeschoolers for the SAT?
How to prepare for SAT, from the early years of high school
If you think there may be a possibility of your homeschool high schooler taking the SAT, it is a wise idea to:
Have a rich vocabulary program
- Your teen does not necessarily need a curriculum but they should work on Greek and Latin roots in some format
- They should learn to mine vocabulary words from books and other reading material (make their own lists on flashcards or aides like quizlet).
- This is one reason 7Sisters includes vocabulary lists from the book on our literature study guides
- Play vocabulary games like vocabulary.com or freerice.com
Read for stamina and attention
Many popular novels are written at a seventh grade reading level. It is good for our teens to read modern literature, but it is not the best SAT prep. SAT reading questions will be at a much higher level. If teens are not trained to sustain attention with more dense or challenging material, they will be more likely to struggle on the test. SO, they need to:
- Read challenging non-fiction
- Read challenging fiction (often written in earlier times)
Keep up with your Math studies
Do not fall behind in Math. Make sure your teens are comfortable using a College Board approved calculator and have basic math facts memorized.
Sign up for SAT Question of the Day
Hey, it’s free and gets teens accustomed to SAT terminology and question styles.
- Many test prep services offer this for free.
- Get an entire free practice plan from the College Board here.
Take the PSAT 10
This is a PSAT test given for tenth graders in the spring of sophomore year. The main purposes of taking this test are:
- Getting a hands-on experience with what it feels like to take a real SAT type test
- To scare the pants off your teens, so they will study hard
It’s fun and includes test prep.
How to prepare for SAT during junior year
This is the year to get busy!
Take the PSAT in the fall
In most cases, PSAT is simply practice for SAT in the spring. However, a few (very few) teens will earn a scholarship from National Merit Scholarship program. (More of my thoughts on PSAT here.)
Know what to expect on test day. Your teen should be able to answer these:
- How you will get there and times to leave and arrive?
- Where all of your materials are (pen, calculator)?
- What you will wear?
- That you will need to practice deep breathing to calm down, at times!
- Follow this checklist from College Board.
- Apply all this to SAT, also.
Set up a study and prep timeline
Work through a course or curriculum
- Theoretically, your teens should NOT need to do test prep to have a test accurately show their capabilities. However, SAT (and ACT) has become so competitive that many teens will need some sort of test prep. I personally do not like that, but College Board did not ask my opinion.
- College Board and Khan Academy teamed to create a free SAT prep curriculum.
- Given that it’s free and is developed in coordination with College Board, it makes sense to invest time here
- Several of my teens found that SATs for Dummies best helped them understand the types of questions they will find on the test and the kinds of answers being looked for.
- It also had good jokes sprinkled throughout.
- Magoosh has SAT prep, including free ebook Math prep
- Online or in-person courses. There are SO many to choose from, even within the homeschool community:
- Our fellow podcaster, Jean Burk of College Prep Genius, offers SAT training
- Our other fellow podcaster, Lisa Nehring of Skills 101 podcast, offers an ACT prep at her True North Academy
- Our 7th Sisters in our Facebook group recommended:
- Horton Test Prep
- ACT Bootcamp
- Link Private Tutoring (she has some freebies in here store, too)
- Our friend, Betsy at BJ’s Homeschool, has even more resources she and her daughter used in this post
Take a full-length practice test
College Board offers, for free, eight full-length practice tests (both online and paper)
Take SAT in the spring
Teens can wait until senior year to take SAT but it is often wisest to take it the first time in the spring of junior year. That way they have time to prepare if they need to take it again in the fall (aiming for a better score).
How to prepare for SAT during senior year
Repeat most of junior year again if they are taking SATs again.
Your teens can do this! Help them have faith in themselves.
(BTW- we are not affiliates of any of the resources listed above- except 7Sisters, of course.)