You’ve spent time deliberating as a family and have finally decided that the SSAT is right for your child’s future, so what next? Preparation! If the decision to take the SSAT is made earlier on during a child’s academic career, you have a distinct advantage. So, don’t wait until a week before the test to begin studying or looking for consultation and support. Remember, time management and general organizational skills are critical when preparing for any test! Here are some helpful hints to get a head start on your SSAT prep.
Familiarize Yourself with Test Contents and Procedures
First, visit the official SSAT website and familiarize yourself with test formats as well as registration dates, fees and accommodations. Begin by consulting the registration calendar on the website for more information about where and when SSAT tests are occurring near you. Remember, spots are limited so don’t miss your deadline to apply. There are numerous Standard and Flex Tests throughout the year, so refer to the official website for pertinent information regarding fees (and fee waivers), cancellations, accommodations and deadlines as it relates to your individual circumstances. If you’re preparing further in advance, make sure to mark important dates on your calendar and set reminders for deadlines.
Next, introduce your child to the test contents and procedures. It’s important that they have a clear understanding of what is on the test, how the information is presented and how the final scores are tabulated. The SSAT website offers an excellent Help Center with webinars and test-taking strategies to assist in preparation. You will also find information regarding how to set up and register your SSAT account when the time comes.
Review and Focus
Take time to review each section of the test thoroughly with the ultimate goal of assessing areas of strength and weakness. It is recommended to take a practice test before commencing studying to identify any gaps in knowledge or any other shortcomings specific to test-taking. There are practice tests and answers online, or you can consider enrolling in SSAT preparatory classes, such as the one offered by RRLS. We offer differentiated programs based on individual needs that are developed by highly trained professional teachers. Once you have conducted some preliminary research and assessment, you can prioritize your study schedule.
Develop and Maintain a Time Management System
Some test takers might decide to study upwards of 2 years before the actual test date. But, it doesn’t matter when you start studying to implement and follow a manageable study schedule. Start by setting SMART goals. Remember the acronym stands for:
M = Measureable
A = Achieveable
R = Rewards
T = Timely
Keep in mind it is important to be realistic with goals. Together with your child, determine the time allotted per day throughout the week by balancing the study routine with other parts of your family’s life, including rest. Be honest with each other about what works best. Does your child work better later at night? Is it better to go to the library to study where they can’t be distracted? Or, does your child need 1:1 direct support to manage their goals? Once you’ve done this, segment your management system according to the strands/content you will be covering for the exam. Determine the number of minutes/hours to study by dividing the time left until the test by the allotted segments you have set up in your time management system.
Finally, keep modifying and adapting methods and timings based on whether or not you and your child are able to manage the SMART goals at the rate you predicted up until closer to the test date. There are excellent online programs and apps to help organize and manage a study schedule, for instance Study Planner and GoConqr, which also happen to be free. Remember, the closer you get to the actual test date, the more concrete the study schedule should be. If you need exterior motivation, we can provide that too. At RRLS, we also advise students in developing an exam preparation time management system by assisting in setting SMART goals and finding organizational tools that work when you sign up for our SSAT prep course.
Practice Makes Perfect
Take time to understand the study topics- don’t just try to memorize facts. Build up your child’s foundations in math and review problem-solving strategies. Encourage your child to be engaged with studying by getting creative with the acquisition and knowledge of specialized vocabulary. Use online tools to create and store flashcards, presentations, mind-maps, audio and video recordings that not only assist with studying, but also support information storage and retrieval. Consult SSAT test preparation guides and workbooks, such as our excellent RRLS SSAT prep book. Our workbook, used in conjunction with our 1:1 courses, ensures that you will be confident and capable come test time.
If you follow these 4 tips, you’ll have a distinct advantage come SSAT time.
For more information about our SSAT prep courses and workbook, please visit our website.