Do I need to take the SAT?

Posted:  Thursday, February 16, 2017 - 5:00am
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NOW is the time for all juniors to start planning for how they will prepare for the upcoming SATs. The state has required ALL juniors attending public schools to take the SATs on Wednesday, April 5th.  The months of February and March are essential for all juniors and every student who plans to take the SATs on this date.

Many students make the mistake of thinking they do not need to open a book, go on-line, or spend any time reviewing SAT material.  Unfortunately, it is a rare student who does this and does well on the SATs.  Without exposure to the material, strategies for taking the test, and doing several practice tests, students simply will not do as well as they could.  Even if they took the PSATs, which allows them to see how they may do on the SATs for the Math and part of the Verbal section, the PSATs do not require the students to write an essay, which is required on the April 5th SAT.  By not preparing, students often get more anxious and feel more stressed about taking the test.   By eliminating the mystery of the test, knowing the format and content of the test, students can relax and allow their brains to bring forth the information that will help them to maximize their scores.

In essence there are three ways a student can prepare.  A motivated individual could purchase SAT prep books from a bookstore or go on-line to do the “do-it-yourself” preparation.  This is great for an extremely bright and motivated student.  A second method is to take classes to help with preparation.  Some classes have one tutor who does all of the sections and strategies, while others, like The Study Hall, has different tutors specifically trained in each particular section and allows students to take classes in sections.  By offering different classes for students, students can determine where they really need the extra help and concentrate on those areas.  If a student did really well on the PSATs in Math, they may not need to or want to spend as much time reviewing this section and could work on the Verbal portion.  The last way a student can prepare is by doing one-on-one tutoring to target specific areas of weakness.   Individual tutoring is most effective when students have some scores to work with; again, The Study Hall offers this style as well for students.

If the world were a perfect place, with about three months before test time, students should use the books and on-line preparation guides to begin reviewing material, take practice tests and become familiar with the test. About two months before the test, they should use their PSAT scores to determine which type of SAT class they should take to prepare for the first time taking the SATs. After taking the class and the first SAT test,  then they could use the scores they received and work with an  individual tutor to concentrate on the areas of weakness before taking the SATs a second time.  Again, if the student is a very motivated person and tends to do well on multiple choice tests, then they could use the on-line material and books to help them prepare on their own all along the way.  Also, if a student tends to work better in a small group or one on one, then he or she could work with an individual tutor rather than a SAT class.

Students should really plan a minimum of six weeks to prepare.  The six weeks before they take the test are the most crucial time in reviewing.  This means students have between now and the end of February to determine how they would like to prepare and the avenue to take to best help them.  Students take driver’s ed to learn how to drive and pass the test, even though they have been in cars numerous times and have driven with parents and friends.  Students should realize that even though they have been in school most of their lives, it doesn’t mean they know all they need to do to the best they can on the SATs.   Remember, colleges look at this to determine preparedness for college and often will use the SATs to determine financial aid.  Students should not take this lightly and think they have nothing to do.

If any student or parent would like more information about the SAT preparation that The Study Hall offers, they should contact Marci at 236-3949 or email Rockport@TheStudyHall.com.