Summer is just around the corner. If you have a student in High School, the SAT will be here before you know it! As you probably already realize, the SAT is one of the most important components of a student’s application packet, and an outstanding score often increases the number of acceptance letters that student will see in the mail come senior year.

What you might not know is that great SAT scores are both a combination of a student’s raw knowledge and their familiarity with the test itself. The SAT is a very particular kind of standardized test. It rewards students who know its format and those who aren’t surprised by the specific ways that it asks questions. Because of this, it can be practiced, and your child can become confident when they take the test.

At Walker Education, we have two tips for parents and students to think about:

1) Don’t leave the test for the last minute.

As we mentioned before, scoring well on the SAT doesn’t just come down to being good at English or Math, but knowing the kinds of questions that will most likely come up. There are a number of “tricks” that students can learn to tackle the questions themselves, though these take some time to practice and master. Additionally, the SAT rewards students who have taken the time to learn and practice their vocabulary, but this kind of memorization works best as an ongoing process. Simply put, there’s a lot of material that’s too important to leave for the weeks just before the test date.

Working with your student, we can help build their confidence and familiarity early. If your child is going into tenth or eleventh grade when they go back after summer break, just two weekly sessions can provide tremendous gains. The summer is a great time to target the SAT specifically, because fewer things are competing for their attention. We’ve seen that students are more engaged with the material, extremely clear headed, and willing to put forth their best effort.

2) Studying for the SAT provides great practice over the summer for a student’s regular academics.

The great thing about the SAT is that students who make a sincere effort to practice for it develop extremely strong critical thinking skills. They become more flexible when they return to school and attempt to solve difficult math problems, and their sharpened reading and writing skills are tremendous assets in their English and history courses.

Simply put, students who are ready for the SAT haven’t just mastered a set of skills that won’t ever be of use anywhere else—studying for the test makes them better scholars in general, and teaches them to make connections and look for new patterns in a number of subjects.

If you’re looking for a way to keep your child’s skills sharp when they enter back into school in the fall semester, and if you want to maximize their performance when the SAT finally comes around, give us a call or drop us an email. We’d be thrilled to tell you more about the test and how we’ve helped past students prepare for it.