Did you know that the juniors in Seattle Public Schools are taking an in-school SAT test on Wednesday, Feb. 25?
It is the first time that I can remember this happening. It is a real SAT exam, and yes, the scores will count. But, what does that mean?
First, a primer on SAT scores. For the past several years, the College Board has offered “Score Choice” for SAT scores. Which means students can choose which scores to report to their colleges. However, there is always a catch. The tippy-top schools, like Stanford or Yale want to see all scores. No matter where the student is planning to apply, it is a good idea to take this upcoming test seriously and to prep for it, the way you would prep for a regular Saturday SAT exam. And now is the time to get started….
Ways to prep:
Self-Study – This works well for students who are self-motivated and willing to set aside time on a regular basis to review SAT materials, which are available on-line and in review books. Several of these books are here: http://www.thompsoncollegeconsulting.com/book-shop.html
Prep Class – Classes have the advantage of meeting on a regular basis. They will help students become familiar with the material and will help to highlight areas to review through self-study.
Private Tutoring – This is the most expensive option, but it can also be the most efficient. The tutor will focus solely on the areas that the particular student needs to work on. For some that might mean Algebra 2 or Geometry, for others it will be vocabulary or grammar.
The big question becomes “how important are test scores?”
The answer is complicated. If the student is applying to Ivy League level schools, scores are very important. If the student is looking for scholarship money scores can be very important. But….more and more schools are going test optional, meaning students don’t even have to submit scores. For all schools, the ones that require test scores and the ones that are test optional, the student’s GPA trumps SAT scores. So be sure to focus on schoolwork first!