The SATs can feel daunting to any student. The idea that a test will influence your future can make an
excellent score feel impossible. However, feeling confident about the test will help your child perform
better. Here are a few things you can do as a parent to improve your child’s confidence as they prepare to
take the exam.
Your words mean more to your child than you can imagine. Simple phrases like “I see you working really
hard” or “I believe you can do it” can make a difference in your child’s confidence. Choose your words
carefully. A recent Freakonomics Podcast discussed that studies have found using complements such as
“you’re so smart” takes away a child’s feelings of agency in the outcome of a test. Whereas, “you have
worked really hard” helps a child feel like they can influence their results. If you use complements that
suggest natural talent instead of hard work and your child doesn’t do well on an exam, they may begin to
feel like they are not smart or can’t perform well. They feel as though they have no control over the
outcome of their work.
Consistently use words that help your child understand that they have control of the outcome of the exam.
If they work hard, they can perform well.
Teach your child the power of posture. A study performed by Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist, found
that posing in a power position, privately, for 1-2 minutes a day can improve your confidence and
physically change hormone levels that impact stress and anxiety. Power poses are poses that open up
and stretch out the body. Picture super hero poses. Practicing these poses a few minutes a day can boost
your child’s confidence and reduce their anxiety.
Talk About Past Success
Success breeds more success. When your child is feeling overwhelmed, point out all the ways they have
succeeded before. You can use scholastic scenarios, but Understood suggests including social, physical,
and emotional successes in your examples. Even if your child doesn’t perform well on the SAT the first
time, they will see that they have many strengths and their confidence won’t be crushed.
Hard Work and Preparation are Key
You have immense influence over your child’s confidence. Use your words carefully, teach them tips and
tricks to relieve anxiety and help them know how successful they have been and can continue to be. Help
your child understand that hard work and preparation are the keys to performing well on the SAT.
By marrying the best of private instruction with the best of group practice, Mr. Test Prep’s San Jose SAT Prep program supplies students with the resources they need to succeed. Having served San Jose’s SAT Prep needs for the last 18 years, Michael Romano is uniquely qualified to instruct students on the content of the test and advise parents about how best to plan the SAT/ACT season. To learn more, book a Free Diagnostic Session today