The SAT tests don't need to be a time of dread for your child. In fact, with the right plan in place, you can help him get on the way to acing them!

Here are eight essential steps on the way to SAT success:

  1. Start with a Test. Get started with a practice exam. These are available in many study guides, or online. By starting this way, you'll begin with a definitive score, and you can better gauge which area(s) to focus the study plan on. It also allows your child to see exactly where he's at the moment, and helps him set goals for the future.
  2. Develop A Study Plan. Now that your teen has a score, it's easier to focus her studies. The best schedule will usually be 2-4 hours per day, and no more than 5 days a week (the brain needs rest too!). Your teen's study plan should encompass a one or two month time frame.Using your knowledge from the first step split the study time up to give more time for the subject(s) that needs the most improvement.
  3. The Right Diet. Many teens today live off fast food and sugary drinks, especially during those late night study sessions. But a study by the Society for Neuroscience has shown that this type of diet can negatively affect the way we think (even as we age). A healthy diet will keep your teen's mind, as well as his body, in good operating order.
  4. Exercise. Just as food affects brain power, exercise affects our ability to cope with stress, and can even make us feel happier! So before SAT anxiety causes stress at home, make sure your teen takes time to exercise daily. It will reduce your teen’s stress levels, as well as your own!
  5. See it Through. You have the right plan, the right diet, and you’re ensuring your child gets out and does something every once in a while. What else is there to do? Make sure she follows the plan!
  6. Practice, Practice, Practice! You started with a practice exam. Your teen should continue these throughout his study plan. Not only will this help him see his progress, it'll also get him used to completing his exams within an allotted timeframe – an essential skill for college success.
  7. Avoid Distractions. You won’t be doing your teen any favors by planning a family vacation in the middle of her studies. Make sure that you stick with the plan as well!
  8. Take Some Time Off. For the couple of days leading up to the exam, stop studying. Cramming the night before a test actually works against you. Instead use these couple of days to do something your teen enjoys. And after the test, give her a break! She's earned it!