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Tips for Navigating the SAT Exam During COVID-19

As the world emerges from lockdown, many students are still preparing for the SAT to be a college admission component, and to take the test later this year. Here's how parents can help them prepare and stay motivated during the coronavirus pandemic.
tips for SAT prep while in COVID-19 quarantine
By: Sara Roberts

There isn’t any area of life that is unaffected by the COVID-19 pandemic including college admissions. Instead of touring prospective universities and studying for the SAT exam, high school juniors are adapting to a virtual school environment and an uncertain future.

The SAT has cancelled all testing dates until late summer and plans to turn the test into a digital exam if schools don’t resume in the fall. Many colleges are even eliminating the SAT as a requirement for 2021 admissions. But as the world emerges from lockdown, many students are still preparing for the SAT to be a component of college admissions, and to take the test later this year.

More: How Parents Can Support Their Teens During Social Distancing

For many students, studying from home has proven challenging. Without the structure of school, it’s hard not to get distracted by siblings, TV, and social media during normal school time. Add in studying for the SAT in addition to normal schoolwork, and it’s easy to see how students get sidetracked.

Research shows that there is learning loss when there is an extended break from school and studying, so it’s important to use this time at home wisely and move forward in prepping for the SAT. If you have a teenager slated to take the SAT this year, there are a few simple things you can do to keep them on track.

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Stick to a Schedule

It’s imperative for kids learning at home to have a routine. Set aside a block of time, an hour or two, every day for reviewing material that will be on the SAT. Without a schedule it’s too easy for test review to fall through the cracks.

Take Breaks

While it’s important to schedule time to study, it’s equally important to remember to take breaks. Studies show we learn better when we do. Use the Pomodoro Technique, which recommends a five-minute break every 25 minutes. Get up, move around, stretch and walk away from the computer, study guide, or textbooks.

Lean on Teachers

Even though school is out, teachers and school counselors are still a great resource when prepping for the SAT. They may have materials you can use or ideas for study prep options while we’re all stuck at home.


Technology is your friend when it comes to studying for the SAT. Some top apps include:

Test Prep Companies

Even though in-person SAT tutoring isn’t offered right now, students can still get quality prep through programs like Math Nation, which has a virtual platform designed to prepare students to ace the SAT. Math Nation has practice workbooks, engaging videos with on-screen teachers, and test questions specifically tailored to each section on the math portion of the SAT.

With things slowly beginning to reopen, students should anticipate that the SAT will be offered later in the year and that many colleges will still require the test for admission. Preparing now will ensure success down the road.

Looking for ways to keep the kids busy and learning during social distancing? Sign up for the Prepared Parent, a daily newsletter filled with everything to help mom and dad in their roles as teacher-parents.

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