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Standardized Test Prep Tools for Teens


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standardized test prep toolsYour college-bound teen doubtless will have to take a barrage of standardized tests as part of the admissions process. You want him to excel. You want to give him the tools to do so. What will he need?

Review Courses

“You must practice because you must become test-comfortable,” says Roz Silverstein, a retired guidance counselor with a 30-year track record. But that doesn’t mean every student has to take a commercial test-prep course. Every student is different, she explains.

“My son said, ‘If I don’t take a course, I won’t discipline myself to practice,’ but my daughter said, ‘Why take a course? I’ll do practice tests and familiarize myself with the format.’”

A course, Silverstein says, “can teach you what you don’t know and focuses on nuances of how to take the test.”

If your child opts for the do-it-yourself route, make sure she takes practice tests timed like the actual tests. Grade the tests, noting areas where she went wrong. Doing so, Silverstein says, will help her identify what she doesn’t know so she can learn it.

Two courses to look into: Kaplan Test Prep and Princeton Review.

Old-School Reading

When it comes to standardized tests, Silverstein says, it’s all about comprehending the material. “The core of what’s important is reading and clarifying errors,” she explains. So she suggests that parents encourage their children to read—the actual original material. “Cliffs Notes have taken away that diligence and ability to follow and respond to the threads of a story,” she says. 

A great test-specific book:  How to Write a Killer SAT Essay in 25 Minutes or Less (Tom Clements; Hit ’Em Up Publishing; $19.95)

Six crucial online resources to prepare students for the SAT, ACT, and more—>

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