With the required SAT rapidly approaching on March 2, juniors are finding themselves in a frenzy to ensure that they are prepared to tackle this nerve racking test. Although most would argue that taking the SAT is not a pleasant task, it is incredibly important that one performs to the best of their ability by diligently studying/preparing prior to taking this test.
The SAT has changed from the score ranging from 600-2400, to 400-1600. The scoring has been reformed, along with the duration of the test. SAT takers are allowed 3 hours (50 minute optional essay.) The new SAT used to have critical reading and writing, but now that section has become evidence-based reading and writing. The essay used to be required and included in the writing score, but has now become optional and separately scored. However, it is encouraged that students take the essay because many colleges either prefer, or require it in their application. A positive feature is that there is no guessing penalty, which means students will not be penalized for incorrect answers. The math section has been dramatically revamped as the no-calculator section is now only 25 minutes, and there is a 55 minute calculator section. They have allowed more of the questions to be completed with use of a calculator, which most students prefer. The scoring range for each category has remained at 200-800 amidst all the other changes.
Foran librarian Mrs. Pellegrino provides numerous resources to help students prepare for the S.A.T. “We offer our students a test preparation database called Testing & Education Reference Center (TERC). TERC contains three full-length practice SAT tests as well as online study guides.” Mrs. Pellegrino also mentions how practicing on Khan Academy can benefit students’ math scores. Mrs. Pellegrino says,“There is also a database at the Milfod Public Library’s website called Learning express library online. Utilizing TERC, Khan Academy, and learning express library online, will help prepare students immensely.” You do not necessarily have to purchase a prep book, as there are endless websites and sources that Foran offers to help ensure students’ success on the SAT!
Conversing with someone who has experienced taking the SAT, and has survived the daunting time of waiting to receive a score, can be extremely beneficial. Senior Erica Hanson provides some realistic insight and advice for all students embarking on this test. Hanson says, “The advice I would give is to study from an SAT prep book/online source and do practice problems, sets, and tests on collegeboard.org. It helps a lot more than people think.” It is commonly stressed that practice books and SAT prep materials are effective in improving one’s score. Although this may be time consuming, it’s certainly worth it when students earn a score they are content with. Hanson also discusses her personal opinion to assure students’ understand that the SAT is a test they will conquer and survive. “It is not as scary as people anticipate it to be. It is a long test, but as long as you go into it focused and ready it is not that bad.” Hanson shares how she prepared for this test by taking the prep courses offered at Foran, and studying from the sources and materials that college board offers.
Most juniors are able to agree upon the fact that taking the SAT for the first time is frightening. With people constantly emphasizing the importance of this test, the pressure to do well is on. Junior Sydney Taylor expresses her fears and thoughts on taking on the SAT for the very first time. “I am mostly worried about the length of the test, and ensuring that I’m able to stay focused for each question. I am especially worried about not missing anything important.” Taylor has been practicing SAT material in a prep book and has started reviewing questions that are expected to be on the exam. Taylor expresses her attitude going into this test, “It is incredibly important to do well, or at least to put your best effort in. I would suggest not getting too caught up in exact scores but really your ability to tackle the types of questions you will be seeing on the test.” She also conveys the idea that eating a good breakfast and getting enough sleep in the days before hand is crucial-when your physical health is properly cared for, your mind is able to perform well.
For all juniors: take a deep breath, get some rest, and make sure to work with an SAT prep book, or log onto one of the listed test preparation websites.