As a tutor for high school students, I have noticed over the past several years that students loooovvvveee to wait to the last minute. They even wait to the last minute when they are preparing for the SAT and ACT tests! They come to me in the final few weeks prior to the test and ask me to prepare them. What they are looking for isn’t a tutor – but a miracle worker!!
In fact, preparation for the SAT or ACT tests should begin several years before you actually take the test. High school students should arrange their education and courses with college preparation in mind. Students should examine their high school work to be sure that they are meeting the requirements.
Here are a few points to ponder when evaluating if your homeschooled student is prepared or not:
1) Have you been using a challenging spelling/vocabulary program for your student since 9th grade? You can use great tools like Spelling and Vocabulary City to make this easy. Students should be stretching themselves with each new spelling list. Remember, spelling and vocabulary preparation is a sizeable part of the ACT and SAT tests.
2)Have your students been writing clear concise essays? The introduction of the essay and SAT writing practice should occur at least by ninth grade – I prefer earlier. Summing up essay writing into just a few simple steps: Plan for 5 paragraphs-one introduction – 2 or 3 body points/paragraphs – and one conclusion that restates your 3 body points. An essay should be written from a given theme or question statement. The essay should also be able to be written within 25 minutes, using example from literature, history, and personal life.
3)Are you challenging yourself with math courses? Don’t skimp on math preparation. The SAT and ACT tests mainly use questions from geometry and Algebra II. If your student thought they would take the easy road and just do basic math or accounting they will not score as high as they could have if they challenged themselves in this area. Yes, math can be difficult, but it isn’t impossible. There are lots of great math tutorials that will help get these difficult points across.
4)Is your student consistently reading and reading critically? By the time a student reaches high school they should be avid readers. Yet, not just readers but readers that analyze what they are reading and think about underlying themes and motives as well as plot projections. Encourage them to THINK while they read.