Preparing Your Student for College Entrance Exams
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(StatePoint) Love them or hate them, college entrance exams are unavoidable for most college-bound students. While every university has their own specific formula for evaluating prospective students, most schools do require that applicants submit either SAT or ACT scores, and some even require or recommend additional exam scores, such as SAT Subject Tests. To get your student prepared for test day, consider the following tips:

• Practice: College entrance exams are no exception to the adage, that “practice makes perfect.” Many of these exams employ very specific types of questions that are not always encountered elsewhere. For this reason, it’s important that your student prepares by taking timed practice tests at home and by learning more about how each test they’re enrolled in is administered. This way, there are no surprises when it matters most!

• Gear Up: Before test day, gather at least two well-sharpened No. 2 pencils, your student’s photo identification, and an approved calculator. Calculators used on test day should be intuitively designed to save your test-taker valuable minutes. The user-friendly Casio’s fx-9750GIII PRIZM Graphing Calculator, for example, offers an improved keypad for fractions, standard-to-decimal conversion and scientific notation. Expanded menu options for programs and capabilities include Exam Mode, Spreadsheet, Python, Probability Simulator, Geometry and Physium, which enables users to easily reference the periodic table. In addition, its natural display feature allows for two-dimensional templates, fractions, roots and other functions to appear on the screen as they are written in the textbook. Whatever calculator your student uses, be sure they are very familiarized with its interface by test day.

• Consider additional help: If your student has taken the exam or a practice exam and would like to raise their scores, a prep course or one-on-one tutoring can make a notable difference. However, these courses can be pricey. Mobile apps can offer test prep questions and flash cards at a more accessible price point, and some of the traditional test prep centers, such as Kaplan, offer less expensive software options as an alternative to in-person classes.

• Rest, Don’t Cram: Preparing for college entrance exams is sort of similar to training to run a marathon. What one does in the weeks leading up to the big day will have a much bigger impact on performance than any last-minute preparations. In fact, back-loading preparations can backfire. Just like you wouldn’t want to run 26.2 miles on tired legs, you don’t want to take the test when you are mentally fatigued. Have your student avoid cramming the night before. Instead, they should practice steadily in the weeks beforehand, but take a break on the eve of the test so they can arrive fresh, well-rested and ready to crush it.

With ample preparation and the right tools, your student can face test day with confidence.

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