Four days a week, four hours a day, I sat in a freezing, green classroom. I was at Elite Educational Institute taking SAT Prep classes. After completing their eight week summer program, I have learned and experienced a lot. Here’s what you need to know about SAT Prep courses.
You must be self-motivated.
The main reason why I decided to take an SAT Prep course is because I didn’t believe I would be disciplined enough to study by myself. Yet, I found that with a SAT Prep course, I was unsatisfied with the instruction I was receiving. If I really wanted to learn the material, I had to read and complete the workbooks and practice problems I was provided on my own. You have to be willing to learn in order to improve.
Measure your success based on yourself.
Unless you’re the smartest in your class, you will hear people complaining about their “low scores”. Their lowest score might be just above your highest. It honestly feels like a kick in the stomach, but you have to relax and focus on your progress. This is about YOU getting better and feeling bad about yourself isn’t going to get you anywhere.
Pay attention to test taking strategies.
I always struggled with section three of the SAT: the no calculator math section. I would leave at least five of the free response questions blank because I simply ran out of time. The worst part was when reviewing my test, the free response always seemed to be problems I knew I could get right. The other problems that held me back in the multiple choice section kept me from a higher score. In my prep classes, I learned to do the free response portion first and do the multiple choice portion after. That way, if I’m running out of time, I can at least make a guess. Another strategy I learned was in the reading section. The two-part questions involving textual evidence are so much easier when you find the textual evidence first and then compare it to the previous question. All these little techniques are probably what have raised my score the most.
Your score will fluctuate.
When I first registered for classes, I had to take a placement test. On that placement test, I scored the same score that I had in the seventh week of classes. What happened was that I was given an easier PSAT test as a placement test. When I took my first real test on the first day of class, my score was about one hundred points lower than the previous test. Even as I made the climb up one hundred points, my score would decrease a little every few weeks. This happened to everybody in my class as well because the tests were sometimes a little harder and sometimes a little easier. Unlike the real SAT where the score is curved, my academy had a fixed grading scale with no curve. Be wary of this and don’t be disappointed in yourself if your score goes down!
All in all, I don’t regret taking the SAT course over the summer, and will be continuing in the school year for another five weeks. I feel a lot more confident taking tests, and it gets easier to sit down and focus for such a long period of time. I’ve also met a group of great people who I can compete with in a friendly way to help myself improve. SAT courses aren’t for everybody, but I recommend it for people who need something to help them along the path to a higher score.