Plan For College

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

SAT Prep: 3 Important Questions Answered

The Plan For College Guest Blog Post Series, Article 2:
Eric Clark is the second Plan For College guest blogger. He started Quincy Tutoring in 2007, while he was still teaching 8th grade math. Currently, Eric is the Assistant Director of Academic Services at Eastern Nazarene College, where he helps students achieve their academic goals.

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Why is important to do well on the SAT?

Many of you might find this question insulting.  Of course you need to do well on your SAT’s to get accepted to college.  Right?  Well, this is true for over 80% of colleges. There are some 800 institutions that are waiving the SAT requirement, but with over 4,300 colleges, universities, and junior colleges in the United States, it is very unlikely that all of the schools you want to apply to do not require the SAT or ACT. 

In addition to getting in to the schools of your choice, there’s one other really important reason to take the SAT.  Most institutions have a tiered system of merit-based financial aid, where student with higher SAT scores will receive more assistance. So doing well can significantly reduce the cost of higher education. 

Since we are on the topic of financial aid, I want to take a quick detour. In order to receive federal aid, the student must complete the FAFSA before the priority deadline.  It is easy to get merit-based aid and Federal aid confused.  It doesn’t matter if you think that you have poor grades or SAT scores, you should still fill out the FAFSA.  Student’s grades do not determine how much Federal aid you will receive. If you haven't already, it's important to get started with the FAFSA soon to receive financial aid. To get help with the financial aid process and maximize financial aid, contact the College Planning Group

How do I do well on the SAT?

This is a loaded question.  There are several strategies that you need to be aware of when taking the test, but far too many to mention in a short blog post.  

The first thing you need to do is purchase a SAT test prep book.  If you plan on taking a SAT test prep class, wait to purchase the text until you know what you will be using for the class. If you are not going to take a test prep class, the Kaplan SAT Premier Program is the text that I suggest to all my students.  Be sure that you take enough time to read through the text, and go through the sample problems.  The text that I just mentioned comes with interactive software that you can use to take a diagnostic test.  

If you are going to take a SAT test prep class, be aware that they can be fairly costly.  Do some research, and make sure you find the program that fits you best.

Where can I find help?
Number 2 is a great, free online resource for SAT and ACT prep. If you’re looking for hands-on local help, Quincy Tutoring offers SAT test prep classes.  If you would like more information about upcoming SAT test prep classes at Quincy Tutoring, email eric@quincytutoring.com or call 617-302-3364.

 Have questions about the SAT? Comment below, and we'll help you out.





29 comments:

  1. As a college consultant and test prep coach, I think these are some great suggestions. Students need to understand that you can't expect to do well if you don't practice. It is no different from an athletic or music performance. The more practice you do, the better you will perform. Test prep works the same way.

    Susie Watts
    Denver, Colorado

    ReplyDelete
  2. One more thing. Do at least one practice test before the real thing. Every high school has practice tests for both the SAT and ACT in their counseling office. Get a copy of each and take some time to get familiar with the test. Read the tips in the beginning that help you understand how the test works. Do a section every day to give yourself some practice. Time yourself with a clock. Check your answers in the back and see which questions you missed. Go back and review those questions and try to figure out why the correct answer makes sense.

    Susie Watts
    Denver, Colorado

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great comments Susie!

    I remember when I was in high school, I ended up taking an SAT prep class through my high school for half of my junior year. We did exactly what you were talking about, practiced and checked answers.

    Although it was tedious, I saw my score rise a couple hundred points between junior and senior year - it not only helped me get into better schools, but it also led to some academic scholarship money.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I hate to pile on with the book recommendations, but even if the strategies in that Kaplan book are top notch (I'm skeptical), students who are really serious about improvement need to invest in the Official SAT Study Guide (published by the College Board). It's the only book you can buy with real tests in it, which makes a huge difference, especially in the reading section, where poorly designed impostor questions can do more harm than good.

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