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Schedule Test Preparation

January 20, 2016

Schedule Test Preparation #Homeschool @TheHomeScholar

Affiliate disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you click and buy I may make a few pennies, but not enough for a latte.

Schedule Test Preparation

How do you prepare your child for the SAT or ACT?  Here are my suggestions in a nutshell!

Collect Study Materials
For the SAT: Cracking the New SAT with 4 Practice Tests, 2016 Edition: Created for the Redesigned 2016 Exam
For the ACT: Cracking the ACT with 6 Practice Tests, 2016 Edition
For essay preparation: Free sample questions from the AP Exam
You’ll make good use of your kitchen timer (this is the one I used with my kids): Apple Kitchen Timer

Get Ready
Cut out one test from the book for each child and put their name on it so they each have their own test.
Set aside 1/2 hour per day, about 3 or 4 days a week. We did our core subjects in the morning, and SAT prep was first thing after lunch.

Practice Filling in the Bubbles
During each prep session, complete one section of the test (each section is just 25 minutes)
Read the instructions first.
Set the timer.
Have them take the test under a timed situation.
After the timer rings, have kids correct their own test packet.
Have kids review the answers to the questions they missed.
If they don’t understand the answer, they can ask their dad  – hahahaha!  Ok, that’s how it worked in MY House anyway!

Practice Essays 
One day a week we practiced our SAT Essay skills in place of a regular English assignment.
Choose a prompt from your SAT study book or the AP sample questions above.
Read the prompt first.
Set the timer for 50 minutes.
Correct the essay in the evening.

Get Help
For more help, check out my High School Testing (Online Training) course.

Have fun studying!  Remember, the benefits are HUGE and can make a big difference with college scholarships!

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Please note: This post was originally published in January, 2013 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.


  1. Robin E. says:

    What do you recommend for PSAT test prep, if anything at all? Would the SAT test prep book be appropriate? How far in advance of the test should we begin?

    January 3rd, 2013 at 5:28 pm

  2. Assistant to The HomeScholar says:

    Good question, Robin. Many parents wonder about that. Here’s an article that I think will answer your question:

    Take the PSAT for Fun and Profit

    That article includes info and links you can use to find out when and where the PSAT is given in your area, and how to prepare. I hope that helps!

    Assistant to The HomeScholar

    January 3rd, 2013 at 7:25 pm

  3. Kati says:

    Thanks for this wonderful guidance! Did you choose the older editions for any particular reason or will the newer editions work just as well?

    August 6th, 2013 at 12:03 pm

  4. Lee says:

    Hi Kati!
    Last year the Princeton Review had a “dud” edition with some errors in the answer key, so I linked to the previous year’s edition. Usually older versions are cheaper anyway, and there have been no significant changes to the test. For future editions of the book, make sure the edition has been published, then read the reviews on Amazon before deciding if it’s a good version, or if people are complaining about errors. For more information about what happened, see this old blog post:
    Homeschooling High School: 2012 SAT Study Guide Filled with Errors

    August 6th, 2013 at 4:02 pm

  5. Angie says:

    How far in advance do you recommend that we have our kids start prepping? Thanks!

    November 22nd, 2015 at 7:48 pm

  6. Assistant to The HomeScholar says:

    Dear Angie,
    In her blog post “Test Prep Like Marathon Training” Lee says that “it takes a couple of months to study for one specific test” but of course, you know your child best, and some students are better “testers” than others.
    Assistant to The HomeScholar

    November 23rd, 2015 at 1:57 pm

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