How Parents Can Help Students During The ACT Test Week
The ACT is coming up in just a few days, meaning your teenager might be a bundle of nerves. Maybe they’ve been prepping for the ACT Test months, or maybe they haven’t, but at this point, options are limited as to how you can help. There are, however, a few things you can do to optimize students performance between now and the time pencils go up on Saturday morning. We’ve pulled all the test prep tips for you right here.
- Encourage them to get things ready the night before
Teenagers aren’t always great at planning ahead. Have them put everything they need for the test in a bag the night before. Make sure they have sufficient No. 2 pencils (with working erasers), a functioning, ACT-approved calculator (ask them to check the batteries/charge), their registration/admission ticket, photo ID, etc. Here is a handy list we put together of sat test day essentials.
- Confirm travel arrangements/plans
If you’ll be driving them to the test center, double check that you know how to get there (especially if it’s unfamiliar). If they are driving themselves, make sure they know where they are going, where they’ll park, and that they have gas. Taking public transportation? Verify that as well. Plan some extra time. Aim to get to the test center a solid 15 - 20 minutes earlier than the time printed on the admission ticket. It’s much better to be too early that to be even a bit late.
- Assist them in the morning
Don’t micromanage their every move (they’ll be on their own in college!), but help them stick to a timetable in the morning and get out the door on time with some sustenance in their belly. A reminder that you’ll still love them no matter what their ACT score will also be appreciated...some day.
- Stay positive
If your teen has slacked off a bit up to this point, now is not the time to point it out. There will come a day when, if scores are disappointing, you can point out missed opportunities to prep and help them craft and implement a plan for next time. Right now, your job is to get them to be calm and focused on doing the best they can at that moment.
What Not to Do During ACT Test Week:
It seems common sense that parties or super late nights the night before aren’t a good idea, but a reminder isn’t unwarranted. A reasonable bedtime is all they need. 8 hours of sleep is ideal. Here are a few things we as parents should never do.
- Make them take a practice test the night before. Even if they have time on Friday night, it will only stress your teen out more.
- Grill them on math problems or arcane vocabulary words. At this point, it’s too late to learn new concepts.
- Tuck them in at 8pm. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep, not 11.
- Talk to them about how if they don’t get X score, they’ll never get into college. The added pressure can cause many students to crumble instead of thrive.
- Compare their (potential) performance to that of their older sibling/next door neighbor/arch-nemesis or really, anybody else at all. This could be discouraging and cause students to perform worse.
Hopefully these tips will help you help your teen be able to put their best foot forward for the test. Take a look at our act test prep blog to stay updated on college application deadlines and news, sign up for advice, information and special offers from Testive, including our college radar newsletter!