Preparing for big tests!

If your high school student hasn’t started yet, it is definitely time to prepare for the upcoming statewide and nationwide tests! The beginning of March has students facing the CA High School Exit Exam (or CAHSEE, for short) and the SAT. Within a couple more months, students have the ACT and the AP tests.

Every high schooler has to pass the CAHSEE in order to graduate high school (some exceptions are allowed). Then if the student wants to go straight to college/university, it is required at nearly all of the 3,000+ colleges in the U.S. that the student take the SAT and/or ACT. These tests help colleges gauge a student’s potential for academic success by comparing scores with other college-bound students. Even though some colleges are starting to make these tests optional for applicants, it’s likely still going to be a while before your students don’t have to worry about them. So how can you help the student in your life prepare for these tests?

1) Review the basics! Every properly-developed building needs a foundation, and so does your student’s education. To build up English (Language Arts) skills, read consistently and analyze the reading. Whether it’s a magazine/internet article or a full-sized novel, reading builds vocabulary and comprehension. To refresh math skills, all libraries have great resources to review any math topic. It’s amazing how important fractions, decimals and percents are to everyday life.

2) Take advantage of prep classes. Many high schools offer a CAHSEE preparation class as a full regular period. Teachers review every topic on the CAHSEE with worksheets and practice tests. Students who take advantage of the review lessons in prep classes have much greater success. Schools also offer prep classes for the SAT and ACT. And while your student’s AP class IS the prep class for the AP test, there are still outside prep courses available. Outside prep courses are available from many local schools, agencies and centers. Libraries also offer low- or no-cost workshops for most of these tests.

3) Use internet resources. The internet is FULL of help. Even just checking out the websites for each of the tests can be help enough. CollegeBoard has materials for the SAT and AP tests. ACT information can be found here, and CAHSEE information can be found here. However, if your student needs more than these…

4) Find a tutor or other individualized prep course! Preparing students for these tests for the past decade, I have developed many techniques to help each individual succeed to his or her fullest potential. Individual one-on-one instruction is the best approach for most students because it can focus on exactly what the student needs, instead of the more general overview of larger classes. Contact me for more information!

Good luck and happy learning!

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