SAT Prep on a shoestring budget

My high school sophomore bombed the PSAT. With this economy I can’t afford those fancy test prep classes. How can I help my teenager score higher on the SAT without spending a lot of money?

What many parents don’t realize is that you have a huge resource at home, YOURSELF!  I’ve seen parents help bring up scores by hundreds of points by working with their teen using the relatively inexpensive SAT practice books that the big name companies put out.  You may be able to find these books at a library or buy last year’s books cheaply from a recent graduate or on-line.  This is the best SAT practice book.

Get out a calendar and set up a study schedule.  I’d suggest at least 8 weeks before the actual SAT.  Put aside at least 2 hours a week to work with the test practice book.  Have your child take a sample test and then you correct it.  Highlight the incorrect answers and spend the rest of the time helping your student review each incorrect answer until he or she understands the error.  If math or grammar really isn’t your thing, consider hiring an older high school or college student that has done well on the test.  High school guidance offices should be helpful in helping you find a tutor who may work for free if the student is looking to earn community service hours to add to their own college resume.  This also works well for the SAT subject area tests when you may not know a lot about physics or a foreign language.  Before you start though, be aware that some colleges require or accept an ACT test instead, which is an entirely different test.

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  • [...] On her calendar be sure she enters the SAT and subject area tests she may want to take, as well as ACT dates. It’s a good idea to encourage her to take these tests more than once as most colleges will accept her highest scores (or subject area scores within a test). I’d suggest taking these tests once in her junior year and again at the very beginning of senior year. If she needs extra help she’ll have the summer in between tests to take a course, get a tutor or just purchase or borrow study guides and practice tests and work on her own (or with you, a friend or a study group – Check out more advice on helping your child study for the SAT). [...]

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