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How to Help Your Teen Succeed on the SAT

Photo Credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Studying_(2759729091).jpg

Photo Credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Studying_(2759729091).jpg

 

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.“

 

 

Finals: Defeating Test Anxiety

photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/anniferrr/

photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/anniferrr/

Test Anxiety: Don’t Panic!

Sometimes no matter how hard you’ve worked to prepare for a test, anxiety can prevent you from performing to your full potential. Students get test anxiety for reasons such as fear of failure, lack of preparation, and poor test history. It can affect them physically, emotionally, and cognitively. Thus, affecting their results on the exam and their overall grade in a course.

I have had test anxiety ever since I was in elementary school. It only got worse when I was in college and university. The minute I received the test I felt my heart pound harder and harder. My face felt hot and my body became extremely tense. Timed tests only made the situation more stressful.

There are several ways to deal with test anxiety. Don’t suffer! Here are some strategies to help students overcome all the stress that comes with taking tests, especially timed tests.

 

Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/stevendepolo/

Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/stevendepolo/

MOVE
Move around while studying. Stretch. Take Breaks. Walk around with your study sheets and flash cards and read them aloud.
MINDFULNESS
Breathe! “If you’re feeling nervous when you sit down to take the test, take three slow, steady breaths. Remind yourself that you’ve been getting ready for these tests all year long.” – Ted Dorsey
My favorite free mindfulness apps are MindShift and Breathe
FIDGET
Focus with fidget toys. Fat Brain Toys has the ultimate selection of fidget toys, which are searchable by age. Also, use small things such as a bracelet or necklace.
SLEEP
Get plenty of sleep. Don’t study while tired. If you are tired then stop. You will not retain anything if you are exhausted.
EAT
Always eat breakfast! During a test maintain your focus with a peppermint candy, gum, or a piece of chocolate.
PLAN AHEAD
Create a study plan two weeks in advance with a study schedule and specific strategies that will help you retain what you need to know.
MUSIC
Create a study playlist. Pick your power song and listen to it before the test for motivation.
TIME MANAGEMENT
Don’t panic when students start handing in their papers. There’s no reward for finishing first. If there’s answer you don’t know skip it and come back to it later.

 

 

Melanie Black of Student Futures is a trained 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 Melanie@studentfutures.org or (904) 487-8269.

Final Exams: Strategies for Less Stress/ More Success

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Photo Credit: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/e6/75/69/e675697a7d99100ee7f1e7c6e2b6551b.jpg

Final exams are approaching fast. Don’t stress. This is an exciting time! The school year/ semester is winding down. You can see the light at the end of the tunnel. You are so much closer to achieving your goal(s). Finals are a time when you get to show off. Whether it’s an exam or presentation this is your chance to display how far you’ve come in a particular subject, how much you’ve learned.  Show your teachers and professors how awesome you are. What do you want to do with what you’ve learned this year or semester? What will your reward be after final exams are completed? How will you celebrate? The reward is super important to have in mind while studying and completing final exams.

Students:

Create a study schedule at least 2 weeks or more in advance for finals. How much time do you want to put aside each night for studying? For example, if it is 2 hours then, you need to decide what you wan to study in those two hours each night. It could be 1 hour of math and then 1 hour of English.  Depending on how many subjects you have to study for the next night you may spend your two hours studying science and history. The first week you will probably study each subject more than once for about an hour at a time. At the beginning of the second week those hour-long segments should be shortened to 30-45 minutes. Towards the end of the second week the 30-45 min. should be shortened again. When you are a couple of days away from finals there should be NO CRAMMING because you have utilized what’s called the “Curve of Forgetting,” where you study a little bit at a time on a consistent basis. This is the BEST STUDY METHOD!  Write out your plan and post it where you can see it everyday. You might even want to utilize your smart phone to set reminders. Also, see my post about Test Taking: Tips, Strategies, & How to Reduce Anxiety. Lots of helpful stuff!

Parents:

Here’s how you can help your student with the stresses and anxiety brought about by final exams. Be positive and a good listener. Sometimes students don’t need you to tell them what to do. They just need someone to listen and empathize. Put together a “Finals Care Package.” They will be so grateful to you for caring.

Finals Care Package

  1. Chap stick
  2. Chocolate – I like the Dove chocolates because there is a special message under the wrapper.
  3. Mints
  4. Tissues
  5. Granola bar to keep their energy up
  6. Stress ball
  7. Pens
  8. Pencils
  9. Highlighter: Make sure it is their favorite color.
  10. Hoodie
  11. Anything else you know of that would help your student be successful and stay positive

 

Feeling overwhelmed? No worries. Student Futures’s academic coach, Melanie Black has a passion for helping students in addressing all of the above. Click here for more helpful resources. Contact Student Futures today and schedule a free academic coaching consultation and learn more about how we help teens succeed. Student Futures serves middle school, high school, and college freshman students in Jacksonville, FL and surrounding areas.We want to help you succeed!

Keep smiling and reach for the stars!