Parent's Guide to the SAT:

We know this is a stressful time. We are here to help. 

Some guidance from our team. 

Create a Practice Schedule

Help your child create a custom practice schedule. They have to juggle their school assignments and extracurricular activities, so it will be hard for them to structure a consistent time to practice for the SAT. We recommend students to take one official practice test every week, starting four months before they take the test. We have the largest database of official SAT practice tests on the web, which can be found here.

Check your Calculator

Make sure your child’s calculator is on College Board’s list of acceptable calculators. Most calculators are, but it’s always a good idea to double check. At Ivy Guru, we recommend our students use the TI-84 Plus CE, as we find it has the most intuitive interface for advanced algebra and linear graphing. Also, make sure your calculator is fully charged, and if it is battery-operated, bring a spare set on test day. 


The SAT is the slightly more popular test, but don’t limit yourself to other possibilities. The difference is quite simple. The SAT has deeper questions that test more complex concepts while most of the answers on the ACT can be found in the text itself. Both tests are tight on time, but the ACT, by far, is much faster paced than the SAT. Many of our students struggling to see improvement on one test find success on the other. 

Find The Best Testing Location

The SAT gives you a long list of testing locations to choose from. Choose one that’s close to your home, but what’s most important is the quality. A good test location will have a projector that displays the time left on the screen. Many rundown test centers will ask you to bring a watch to keep track of the time. This is horrible for your concentration. Also, drive to the location beforehand, and make sure to arrive at 7:30.

Set Realistic Expectations

Understand that your child will be under a lot of pressure from his peers to do well on his SAT. Everyone knows that a higher score on the SAT is better, but each university has different SAT admission metrics. Talk to your child on what schools they are interested in, and help research the 75th percentile in each SAT section. This is a great place to aim for to present yourself as a competitive applicant.

Keep Calm

Your high schooler is probably feeling as much anxiety as you are about test scores and the future. Make your home a place of calm for them to come back to each day. When you talk about test prep, make sure to do so in a low and caring voice. Finally, let them know that no matter the outcome, if they put the work in, you will be proud of them. Don’t fret: we promise everything will work out.