How to Prepare Your Child for the SAT: 5 Tutoring Tips for Parents

It can be overwhelming to look for ways to help your child get into college. This is especially true for parents of students who are just about to take the Scholastic Assessment Test, more popularly known as the SAT.

Aside from being unfamiliar with the test questions, you might also find it quite different from the test that you remember. What you must keep in mind, however, is that test scores are a lot easier to improve within a short period compared to the GPA.

While assisting your child in preparing for these standardized tests is no walk in the park, it is not impossible. Tutoring can be an effective way of boosting your child’s chances of passing, especially when done properly.

The key is to help your child get a baseline score. To help you out, here are five tips for parents with children who will be taking the SAT should know about:

1. Identify Challenging Subjects

Each student has a different level and pace when it comes to learning. To create an effective SAT home review plan for your child, you must first determine what subjects they are having a difficult time with. This will give you a starting point on where to focus on the home review.

Spending time in identifying the areas where a student needs the most help can be done by looking at past test scores if they have tried taking it before. If they haven’t, you can have them take practice tests like those offered by schools and SAT tutorial centers.

Once you get the corrected test paper, go over it together. This way, you can pinpoint not just the questions they missed but also the reason why they weren’t able to answer them correctly. It is best to focus on the ones they find difficult and work your way up to those subjects where they do well.

Moreover, knowing the subjects where they need more help on allows you to make an informed decision on whether to enroll your child in other programs and learning courses. These programs are made to help students to get better in a particular area and, ultimately, increase their score on the SAT.

2. Understand the SATs Yourself

Just because you’re older than your child doesn’t mean you automatically know more about the SAT than they do. Keep in mind that the standardized exam you took years ago will more likely be a different one from the test your child will be taking soon.

If you want to become an effective tutor, you must set aside some time to truly understand the current SAT. After all, you would have a hard time explaining why your child got certain items wrong if you don’t understand them yourself. This is why it is crucial for you to do some research before attempting to tutor them for the SAT.

3. Know the Format

Aside from getting a general understanding of the SAT questions, you’ll also have to study about the current format of the test, including:

  • The test length
  • The number of questions to be answered
  • The different subjects to be tested

Again, this will ensure that you’re up-to-date with what you’re tutoring your child in. Never rely on the SAT format you took in the past.

Aside from boosting the effectiveness of home review, knowing exactly what to expect will make your child feel more confident in taking the test. It can also help them mentally prepare for the question formats and materials covered in the exam.

4. Study the SAT’s Logic

The SAT is quite different from quizzes, and tests students take in their classes, so you have to make sure that you teach them how to use this to their advantage.

For one, SAT questions are mostly presented in a multiple-choice format, which means it doesn’t matter how your child got the answer right, just that they did. In this case, you can teach your child other ways of getting the correct answer without taking too much time. The process of elimination can help your child get the right answer to a question by removing the wrong ones.

Also, you must guide your child on how to overcome traps and trick questions that are tailored to make the test taker pick the wrong answers. Remind your child to read the questions carefully and avoid making assumptions about what the question really is asking.

Last, but not least, make sure that you and your child understand what a standardized test is. As one, the SAT will always have a single, indisputably correct answer. To prevent regrets and questions on the result later, explain to your child what makes an answer correct and why the others are wrong.

5. Consider Getting Help

If you still feel unqualified to act as a tutor for your child, then you should probably consider enrolling them in a reputable SAT review center. Not only are the people there skilled and experienced in teaching, but they have also come up with SAT preparation programs that increase students’ chances of passing the test.

The Takeaway

Guiding children through standardized tests to help them get a better chance at college is a crucial task for parents. However, you must also remember that helping your child pass the SATs is not your only responsibility – you should also make your child understand that it’s just the icing on the cake.

If your child already has a good GPA and excellent essay writing skills, they already have a great chance at acing those college applications.


Maloy Burman is the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Premier Genie FZ LLC. He is responsible for driving Premier Genie into a leadership position in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Education space in Asia, Middle East and Africa and building a solid brand value. Premier Genie is currently running 5 centers in Dubai and 5 centers in India with a goal to multiply that over the next 5 years.