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Bookworm's SAT Prep

Hello again, my friends ... I hope your Tuesday went well! A few people have asked me to share how Bookworm prepared for the SAT exam (which he took earlier this month), and I am very happy to do so!

Now, as crazy as it sounds, our Bookworm (this kid!) will be 17 next month, and as a (homeschooled) junior, college is looming large on the horizon. As this would be his first formal testing experience - since, oh, 1st grade I think (the one and only year I used testing as our method of evaluation) - we obviously wanted to help him prepare as best we could.

 So here's a quick rundown of what he did ...

First of all, we registered with this website and signed up for the SAT Question of the Day. (I get these daily emails myself - but to be honest, I only do the language questions - I skip the math ones entirely, lol!)

Then last fall Bookworm took a 12-week SAT prep workshop, which was offered at our homeschool tutorial center. (The older boys take classes here a couple of times a week - electives, mostly - art, drama, etc.) His teacher was wonderful - she was homeschooled herself and now teaches Spanish as well as the SAT workshop. She was a great mentor, and had some really helpful advice for the kids. She used this book with the kids, and just before Thanksgiving they held a "mock" SAT. (It was run just like a "real" SAT.)

So the workshop wrapped up in November, and after the holidays, Bookworm continued working through the Gruber Guide on his own, and he registered for both the May and June exams.

*Note: One thing we had not been aware of at first - students need a photo i.d. to show at the exam. In fact, they cannot take the exam without it. Since BW does not have his driver's permit yet (that's on the summer to-do list!), nor does he have a passport, we got him a state photo i.d. at the RMV. This only took a few weeks to arrange, but we did it well ahead of the testing date.

In April, Bookworm paused his current math curriculum to concentrate fully on "SAT math." The SAT exam includes algebra and geometry, which BW completed in 9th and 10th grade, respectively. Bill (who unlike me, IS a math person), found himself in this same situation when he was of "SAT" age. He ended up struggling a bit with the math portion of the exam because he found his algebra and geometry skills to be a bit rusty. So he made the excellent suggestion that Bookworm stop his pre-calc curriculum for a few weeks and instead, "brush up" on his algebra and geometry.

(I need to make a plug here for Saxon Math, which we have used since Bookworm was in 2nd grade. It's an excellent curriculum - and as a non-math person, I like the straight-forward manner in which the lessons are laid out. That said, it is also a curriculum that a math-oriented kid like Bookworm can do independently once he or she is comfortable doing so. There are even videos you can purchase (by DIVE or Saxon Teacher) that give instruction for each lesson, and we've used those now and then.)

So as we got closer to the exam date, Bookworm did some practice testing at home - some days, he just practiced in bits and pieces, but we also did a 4-hour mock exam one day. (As in, he worked straight through, taking only the suggested break times in between sections.) I think practicing how to concentrate for longer periods of time was helpful for a homeschooled student who's not only used to a more flexible learning environment but has had less standardized testing experience as well.

We also went over the list of what he could and should bring - i.e. pencils, sharpener, calculator, snack. We debated over a watch - he wanted to keep track of the time, but we were afraid his watch would beep and get him in trouble, lol! (Apparently they're real sticklers about any noise-making devices.)


So Bookworm took his first SAT on May 5th and as I happily reported last week, he did great. :) He's signed up for the June exam, too - and though he's not quite as, erm, excited to take the exam this time, he is hoping to nudge up his scores a little. (They allow you to submit the best of your scores.)

In the fall, he will take a couple of SAT Subject tests ... most likely math and a science. He has not yet started preparing for those, but I see there are study guides devoted to those individual tests. For now he's gearing up for another SAT and we're making summer campus visit plans.


Well, my friends, I hope this post was helpful to some of you in some small way. Obviously Bookworm's prep was tailored to his own situation and style of learning, but I hope you find some of these resources and links handy. As a homeschooling family, we're a bit out of the loop when it comes to things like this, so I'm glad we found that workshop and got our act together as early as we did. (And considering how early many kids start preparing for this, we were actually a little behind schedule!)

So thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read my rambles ... I'll be off now as there's a young fella waiting on me for tucking in bed. But I wish you all a pleasant evening ... good night and God bless!

I will see you again very soon ...