Community.today.com screenshot
Michelle Lehnardt and her family.

Michelle Lehnardt has three kids now who have aced the ACT or SAT.

From long-term to short-term goals, Lehnardt, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has a wide range of tips on how to help improve the test scores of teens applying for college. The Mormon mom recently shared her tips with Today.com.

“You've read all the studies and worn a path to your local library. But don't forget to buy books,” she said. “Research proves book owners have smarter children. When families own books they are much more likely to all read them and discuss concepts and characters (which is where the real learning begins!).”

Then there’s the newspaper. According to Lehnardt, kids are less apt to check online sources for news, but it’s easy for them to peruse a printed copy.

“The old-fashioned paper offers multiple rewards to learners,” she said. “Simply by opening the paper, kids are exposed to new ideas, information about other countries, advanced vocabulary, sports stats, crossword puzzles, etc. Besides, childhood without the comics is just SAD.”

But it’s not all work and no play, Lehnardt continued.

“Learn to juggle. Or ride a unicycle, or learn card tricks or solve a Rubik's Cube,” she said. “The confidence kids gain from learning new skills carries over into academic learning.”

When it comes to the big test, Lenhardt gave a few ideas of where to invest money and how to acclimate to a formal classroom setting. Faith can also play a role in sorting out muddled thoughts, she said.

6 comments on this story

“Taking time to pray or meditate will clear your mind and help you remember the things you've studied," Lenhardt wrote. "Hey, you're not asking for a miracle, just for clarity.”

Regardless of whether your kid is bound for Harvard, though, Lehnardt reminded readers that time spent preparing for the test is time well spent.

“No matter what your score looks like, your preparation increases your ability to learn, your resilience and your curiosity,” she said. “Wherever you go to college and whatever you might pursue, those qualities will serve you well.”

Read all 16 tips here.