How to Help Your Teen Succeed on the SAT

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Many students are gearing up for the SAT. Preparing for the SAT is similar to the way an athlete prepares for a race or a big game. There is so much to do, know, and remember. Meanwhile the students must continue to focus on their everyday classes, homework, projects, and tests. So how can you help your teen?

Put the test into perspective for them.

Yes, the SAT is important, but it is not the only thing that colleges and universities look at when making a decision about your application. Even though a good score can definitely sat

help, lots of schools these days are not placing as much emphasis on those test scores. More than 800 schools list the test as optional depending on the student’s GPA or class rank.

Help your teen with test prep.

There are many options for help with test prep. Some parents get their high school student a private tutor. College Board offers a FREE online program through Khan Academy. Parents can help quiz their teens with the Question of the Day. Create a study plan together. Creating a plan will alleviate stress and help your teen feel more confident and organized for the SAT. They do not have to follow the plan precisely, but the simple act of making the plan is helpful. When your teen takes a practice test act as the proctor. Take their cell phone, help with timing, etc. Make it feel as real as possible.

Discuss the reward(s).

Studying for any major exam is stressful. Help your teen decide what their reward will be after they have finished the exam. This could be a day at the beach, a massage, etc. Do something fun! Post this reward somewhere that it will be noticeable on a daily basis.

Alleviate test anxiety.

As an Academic Coach in Jacksonville who works with teens I notice how stressed and overwhelmed students get with regard to tests. No matter how hard they study test anxiety can negatively affect their efforts to be successful. I have also noticed things that work to help alleviate test anxiety and seen students defeat those negative feelings. Here are a few that are easy to implement.

Mindfulness: My favorite FREE apps that are perfect for high school students are MindShift and Breathe.

Music: Creating a study playlist with a few power songs is helpful not only while students are studying but when they are gearing up to study. Listen to this playlist the morning of the test to pumped and sty positive.

Stretching: Practicing simple stretching is great for the body and mind. This is useful not only while studying but also the day of the test.

Affirmations: Student affirmations are positive statements to help teens stay in a positive mindset. Hang one up a day where it can be seen. Saying them out loud is powerful. Below are some examples.

  • I am a great student and getting better each and every day
  • I am prepared for my tests. Tests are a breeze for me.
  • Today I study hard so tomorrow I can reach my goals.
  • I can learn anything! I can know anything! I can be anything!

Best wishes for less stress and more success.

mel professional photo by kateMelanie Black is an Associate Certified Academic Life Coach and mindfulness educator. She is passionate about helping others and learning all she can in the process. With ten years of experience in the field of education, she is determined to help students succeed in school and life. “ One of my goals is to continue to be a humanitarian who helps our local community. I am passionate about my relentless pursuit of knowledge and desire to help others.“



Mindful Monday: Student Posture

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How does our posture affect us?  How are you sitting or standing right now? The way we hold our posture affects our mind and mood. Being mindful of their posture can greatly help students succeed. Making this small effort will cause big positive results.

Studies have shown that with the right posture one can

  • improve their performance.
  • communicate more effectively.
  • help you gain confidence and be more assertive.
  • be more persistent.

Often times students are tired and bored in class or while studying. They tend to slouch down in their seats, or put their head down, or worse while studying in bed they fall asleep. Students’ posture affects their ability to learn and retain material. It affects their test results and eventually their overall GPA. Using good posture combined with deep breathing can greatly help students succeed in school by helping them focus and better handle overwhelming situations in and out of class.

Let’s do a simple exercise to help us be mindful of our posture.

1. Feet flat
2. Hands flat
3. Back straight
4. Chin up

How do you feel? The key is to be more mindful of our posture and to adjust when we find the need.

Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist, who gave a famous TED Talk titled, Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are suggests two poses to help boost your confidence and put you in a positive mindset.

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Victory Stance

1. Stand up straight;
2. Push your shoulders back;
3. Widen your stance;
4. Hold your head high; and
5. Raise your arms up in a “V” shape.




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Power Pose

1. Stand up straight;
2. Push your shoulders back;
3. Widen your stance;
4. Hold your head high; and
5. Put your hands on your waist with elbows out

Next time you feel yourself getting bored or overwhelmed with school work be mindful of your posture. Try the poses above to help give you a boost.





Keep your head up and reach for the stars!

Melanie Black of Student Futures is a certified academic life coach for students and teens. She has a passion to help students succeed. Academic coaching helps develop life skills for students as well as gives them academic strategies, which help to decrease anxiety and stress in students. Contact Melanie Black today for a free consultation at or (904) 487-8269.