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3 min read

How Counselors Can Help Students Get Ready for the SAT and ACT

How Counselors Can Help Students Get Ready for the SAT and ACT

This blog post was provided by Test Innovators, our test prep partner. You can learn more about Test Innovators on our partners page.

There’s a lot that goes into applying for college—asking for letters of recommendation, applying for scholarships, writing application essays—the list goes on! Given everything there is to do, preparing for the SAT and ACT can feel like a very daunting task. 

Fortunately, there are things that counselors can do to alleviate the stress of test prep and ultimately help students succeed on the SAT and ACT. 

Here are 5 ways counselors can support their students in preparing for the SAT and ACT:

 

1. Advise Students to Take the Right Classes

Set your students up for success by advising them to take classes that will teach them the concepts and skills that they need for the SAT and ACT. For math, the typical Algebra I, Algebra II, and Geometry courses cover most of the content that’s tested, so make sure your students are on track to complete these classes by 10th or 11th grade.

For the other sections, it’s important for students to have strong comprehension and composition skills, so classes with a focus on reading and writing are great. These classes can be in a variety of subject areas, such as history, literature, and psychology.

 

2. Encourage An Early Start

Encourage your students to start test preparation early—either in the spring of or summer after 10th grade, or in the fall of 11th grade. Starting early gives students plenty of time to study and to take the test more than once. 

Students should aim to finish testing before 12th grade because, as you know, the fall of senior year is stressful enough! With testing out of the way, students can focus fully on their college applications. 

Check out sample ACT and SAT Timelines.

 

3. Help Combat Test Anxiety

Unfortunately, test anxiety is a challenge that many students face. It’s best to address test anxiety head on by opening the discussion and providing resources and support.

For students experiencing test anxiety, it can be reassuring to know that they are not alone in feeling this way. Fear is a natural response to a high-stakes situation, like an important test, so it’s no surprise that the SAT and ACT can evoke anxiety. 

It may seem obvious, but one of the most effective ways to combat test anxiety is to get comfortable with the test, and the best way to do that is to take practice tests. Practice tests help students to familiarize themselves with the format, style, and content of the test. In addition to getting comfortable with the test, knowing what to expect on test day—where they’ll be taking the test, how long they’ll be there, etc.—can be tremendously helpful. 

To learn more about helping students manage test anxiety, check out 8 Ways to Help Your Student or Child Combat ACT and SAT Test Anxiety.

 

4. Provide Informational Resources

As you know, students have a lot to do during 11th and 12th grade. You can help them stay organized by providing resources about the test and testing process. A great way to do this is to create an informational packet with things like test dates, registration deadlines, test format, and preparation best practices. It's helpful to keep a few printed copies of the packet in your office, so that you can have them on hand when students and families have questions about testing. This information is especially helpful for those going through the process for the first time.

Feel free to use the SAT and ACT informational packet we've created.

You can also check out the 20-minute webinar: New Digital SAT Must-Knows for Counselors so you can be prepared to answer any student questions.

 

5. Offer Test Practice Opportunities

Because practice is the best way to build confidence and reduce anxiety, you can make a big difference by ensuring your students have access to quality practice resources. Supporting SAT and ACT practice can be as simple as recommending resources for independent study. There are a lot of practice options out there, so giving families some guidance can be very helpful. Schools that want to be more involved can offer a test prep class, which is a great way to ensure your students are practicing. 

 

Looking for SAT and ACT practice for your students? Test Innovators works with schools across the country to help their students get ready for the SAT and ACT. Learn how Test Innovators can support your school.

Learn more about Scoir’s partnership with Test Innovators.

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