How to Get Your Child to Start Studying for the SAT/ACTs

By Sylvan Learning

Test Prep

Between school, homework, extracurricular activities and personal interests, the middle schoolers and high schoolers of today are busier than ever. However, it’s important that these students don’t let studying for the SAT/ACTs slip through the cracks. After all, these exams still play a large role in the college admissions process and teens shouldn’t wait until the last minute to start studying.


Nagging will get you nowhere, so what can you as a parent do to get your child to start studying for the SAT/ACTs? Here are five places to start:


1. Encourage teens to take challenging courses. Kids are already in the classroom and by taking more advanced subjects in school, teens can begin readying themselves for the concepts that will be seen on these all-important exams.


2. Read, read, read. Encourage your teen to read anything and everything. Books, magazines and even websites can help students with the critical reading sections of the exams, which test reading, diction and vocabulary.


3. Let them have a say. Try to not insist that your child begin studying for the SAT/ACT with the dreaded words “Because I said so.” Rather, discuss with your teen how best to structure test prep and work with him or her to set a designated test prep schedule. Talk about expectations – not only your expectations for your child, but also his or her personal goals and expectations.


4. Get them excited for what a good score could mean for their future. Acing the SAT or ACT could mean the difference between a teen getting into his or her first-choice university or a safety school. Help students get excited for what the future holds by going on campus visits or talking about the future.


5. Practice Makes Perfect. Practice tests are important because they allow students to recreate test-day conditions, understand the subject areas they need to focus on during test preparation and get ready for the day when their scores really count.


Over President’s Day weekend, participating Sylvan Learning centers are offering free SAT and ACT practice tests. To take the exam, parents of students should call their local Sylvan Learning center to find out the exact date and time the exams will be offered. Visit to find the appropriate contact information.