Boom or Bust: SAT Prep Classes


Every time a new school year begins, I know even newer opportunities arrive. Freshman year was the beginning of high my school experiences: first football games in the stands, new clubs and meeting new people. Sophomore year, I welcomed new traditions such as after school homework sessions and post finals breakfast at my house. Coming into my junior year, I did not embrace any new traditions. I knew what was coming around the corner: SAT and ACT tests.

According to Collegeboard, the newly designed SAT is an achievement test that measures what students are already learning in high school and what they need to know to succeed in college and career. Sections on the SAT include reading, writing and a calculator and non calculator portion for math. As for the ACT, it is more writing and science based. There are no penalties for wrong answers; only the correct ones are counted for scoring. The SAT is scored out of 1600 and the ACT out 36.

Testing itself has never come easy for me. Ever since I was little, I would always study weeks before and never got out what I put in. Every test I took knocked down my confidence and little by little, I just had to accept that I did not perform well on paper.This year had to be different. This test was not just for a grade, the scores I receive could determine my future. I know the casual studying and “hoping for the best” would not do me any favors.

I was at a loss of what to do. My family and older friends told me that the only option they had was to pay for an expensive class for the particular tests they were taking. Paying for classes was probably the best option, but I didn’t  know if my schedule or my budget would allow me to take all the classes to get the maximum results.

When I heard that the school offered classes, I was relieved. For a more affordable cost, options for both reading and math were offered, along with an after school and an after activities time slot. I was able to go to classes at any time, as long as I paid for the sessions.

Even though you can’t study for a standardized test, the high school did an adequate job for providing multiple tools and resources for the students enrolled in the classes. I thought I would be placed with the fast paced learners, where I tended to feel as if I was the only one struggling. Instead, walking into the first class, I was surrounded by students who endured the same struggles as I did. No one disregarded my questions and concerns, and the work ethic of myself and my peers in the class structured the curriculum the teachers were given.

The phrase that hit me most that was said during the first day was, “there is no such thing as being a bad test taker for standardized testing. There are only the unprepared and the prepared.”

The classmates that regularly attended classes got more exposure to the style and timing of the test. There were practice problems and timed tests, along with different tips for avoidable mistakes to increase your scores. The class made it easy to brush up on some academic skills and to learn some tricks that those who did not choose to take the course did not get to have. Personally, brushing up on math and reading skills made me more confident with what I already know, along with having the time to strengthen my reading and writing skills. The prep class also offered a chance to work under the same conditions as the testing day, which will be difficult for people who did not take the class to adjust to.

ACHS made a great effort for providing exposure and opportunities for their students to do well on standardized exams. What you as a student put into the class, is what you get out of it. If you’re someone like me who is ready for the college step but does not perform well on paper, a prep class might be the next move.