This PSAT 8-9 is coming up in October. Is your 8th-grader ready?
Illinois schools switched to this test in 2018 to help determine students’ high school class placement. In other words, your student’s performance on this test contributes to whether she will take advanced classes or general classes in high school, namely math and English.
Preparing for this test takes time and, often, help from someone familiar with the test format and content. Help your student do his best by sitting down with him and making a study plan – no cramming, no stress.
To study, he can review class notes, browse sample questions online or work with a tutor to master test concepts and take real practice tests. We strongly recommend your student take some real PSAT 8-9 practice tests so she becomes familiar with how the test is set up, what type of questions she will see and how much time she will have on each section.
Now is the time to start studying, and test day is right around the corner. Here’s a checklist for you and your student in the days leading up to the PSAT 8-9 – and the big day itself!
☐ Review corrected tests, homework assignments and class notes from math class – including those from 7th grade. This is a great way to jog the memory and prepare for the test, as the test content is very similar to class content.
☐ Review parts of speech and grammar rules. Students likely spend most of their time in English class reading and practicing composition. This makes it easy to forget grammar and mechanics. IXL.com is a great way to review these concepts. Every iLearn Academy student has her own IXL login – ask your tutor if you don’t know the username or password!
☐ Take a full-length practice PSAT 8-9 with a timer and correct any missed questions. These tests can be hard to track down – talk to your child’s tutor if you’d like help with test prep materials.
☐ Make a test day kit or baggy with two sharpened no. 2 pencil with erasers and an approved calculator. Any standard calculator or graphing calculator will be fine. However, any calculator that accesses the Internet, makes noise, has a QWERTY keyboard, uses a stylus or contains paper tape is not allowed. (This includes laptops, cellphones and smart watches.)
☐ Make sure your student does not bring a recorder, compass, protractor, ruler, highlighter, colored pen or pencil, scratch paper, dictionary, snack or drink.
☐ Get a good night’s sleep the day before the test, eat a breakfast with protein and drink plenty of water. This helps your student’s brain stay sharp and focused.
☐ Standardized tests can be stressful, especially when the results feel important. It’s nice to remind your student that he is loved no matter what he scores – and that you have confidence in his abilities. Remember: grades and teacher recommendations also play a role in class placement, so this test is not the be-all-end-all!
iLearn Academy’s test prep program uses real test materials and expert instructors to help your student achieve her best possible score. If you’d like our help making a test prep plan, choosing the right materials and filling in any gaps in your student’s learning, call 847-834-0791 today and ask about our proven PSAT 8-9 program.
Completing homework consistently and accurately is essential to mastering important concepts and earning good grades.
Many elementary students understand new concepts in class, but quickly forget due to a lack of practice and repetition. Other students struggle to build the study skills to keep up with nightly homework assignments, especially in middle and high school.
No matter your child’s age, iLearn Academy has a fall afterschool program to ensure he gets the homework help he needs. Run errands, exercise or simply relax while your child gets expert instruction from qualified tutors.
For elementary students: Our all-inclusive afterschool program provides three hours of daily instruction in math, English and homework help. We offer quality care at a great value from 3 to 6 pm; you choose how many days a week your child attends.
For middle school students: Our Homework Help Lab helps students finish assignments and build skills in a focused environment with help from knowledgeable tutors. Students can come any weekday between 3 and 7 pm for help with math, English, or both.
For high school students: Our Test Prep Gym is designed to build test-taking skills for ongoing standardized test. Whether your student is preparing for the PSAT 8-9, PSAT/NMSQT, ACT or SAT, our program builds skills incrementally using real test materials and instructor feedback. Students can practice test-taking whenever they want from 4 to 7 pm Monday through Thursday.
Our afterschool homework help and test prep programs take the stress out of nightly assignments and standardized tests. Best of all, they help your child form healthy study habits as they prioritize their to-do lists and tackle new academic challenges.
Call 847-834-0791 today to learn more or enroll. Not sure if your child needs extra support? We’d love to sit down and review your student’s latest report card and diagnostic test results. Thank you for trusting us with your child’s academic success!
Parents who start saving for college when their children are newborns will end up with 30 percent of their savings made up of earnings from their investments. Meanwhile, parents who start saving when their kids are in high school will only get 10 percent from earnings.
This shows that when it comes to college savings, parents who make a plan early come out ahead.
Part of that plan is deciding how much you will contribute to your child’s higher education – and how much he will contribute. Another part is calculating how much you can save each month, and another is choosing where to put that money while your child grows.
529 Savings Plans are a common choice. These state-run accounts allow individuals to grow money tax free – and withdraw tax free, if they use the money for higher education expenses. Here are some frequently asked questions about 529 plans and their benefits:
Will the money in my 529 plan affect my child’s eligibility for need-based financial aid?
Yes, but barely. Only up to 5.64 percent of a 529 Plan’s value will be considered in calculations of need-based aid. In other words, you’d have to save about $15k before even $1k gets added to your expected family contribution.
What can the money be used for?
Eligible expenses include tuition, room and board, textbooks and computers. 529 Plans can also pay tuition at a trade or vocational school. These plans can be tricky if you try to withdraw money for other expenses – you’ll owe income tax as well as a 10 percent penalty on earnings. If a child gets a scholarship, however, you can withdraw up to the awarded amount penalty free.
Is there a limit on how much I can save?
There is no annual limit, although aggregate limits across states range from $235,000 to $520,000.
Should I work with a broker to find a 529 Plan?
Generally, no. Plans sold directly to families have lower annual costs and less expensive investment options. (Some investments come with a sales charge between 1 and 5.75 percent.)
Whose name should the account be in?
Put the account in a parent’s name, with the child as beneficiary. If you’re divorced, set up the account in the custodial parent’s name – this shakes out best for financial aid down the line. Try to avoid putting 529 Plans in a grandparent’s name. When they withdraw money, it will be treated as untaxed income and will affect the student’s eligibility for need-based financial aid. 529 Plans in the student or parent’s name, on the other hand, are counted as assets and do not affect financial aid.
How should I allocate my investments?
Most 529 are set up as age-based glide paths. That means as your child gets closer to college, your investments are automatically shifted among stock and bonds funds.
These investments start at a higher risk level and gradually get more conservative as your child grows. Nonetheless, most plans offer conservative, moderate and aggressive investment tracks based on your personal risk tolerance.
Not all plans define risk the same way, however. A plan labeled conservative could have 40 percent of your savings invested in equities – or it could have 80 percent. Be sure to do your research as you search for the best savings plan.
For a personal college savings planning session with a certified financial advisor, call iLearn Academy at 847-834-0791 and ask about our support services for college-bound students.