SAT Preparation as the Test Date Draws Near


Students utilize SAT preparation books for class during access, Thurs. Mar. 9. The students attend the classes provided by Elite Academics to improve their test scores.

by Makenna Allen and Auni Smith

The classroom air is thick with tension.  The tick of the clock mounted on the wall is the loudest noise in the room of 30 students.  The teacher steps slowly to the front of the class, announcing the beginning of the SAT standardized exam.  

Yes, it’s that time of year again: the time of sleepless nights of preparation for the all-important test.  Nearly 100 juniors utilize the study tool of SAT prep classes provided at school during access and on the weekends.  However, the questions remains: how much help does this course actually offer and why is it important that students score well on the exam?

According to USA Today, most top-ranked colleges do not utilize SAT scores in determining whether or not a student is “college-ready.”  On the contrary, instead of viewing students’ SAT scores as indicators of college-readiness, the test helps admissions directors to compare the numerous college applicants.  

However, Assistant Principal Melissa Anderson believes that reality is a combination of both perspectives.  

“Every college has a different admissions process and the common thread is that the SAT and the ACT  is a national comparison.  They are the only two tests out there of everything you do that can be compared on a national level,” Anderson said.  “But colleges typically will not just use just your test score to decide if you are in.  They use it as sort of a guideline in addition to all your other application materials: your grades, your GPA, your class rank, the difficulty of the courses that you took.”

Often times, students will retake an exam to attain a score to help them rise above other students.  However, the Huffington Post suggests that students should not retake either the SAT or the ACT more than three times each as this indicates that the student should focus attention in other areas.  Thus, preparedness for the SAT is crucial.  

In pursuit of success, some students utilize the many study opportunities recommended by the school’s administration.  Options include attending the school’s SAT classes presented by Elite Academics, purchasing SAT preparation books, and completing free online practice through Khan Academy.

“You want to score the highest you can,” Anderson said.  “Test preparation has shown just to increase on average your overall composite by three to four points.”

In hopes of increasing her score in this manner, Audrey Vida ‘18 spends access time on Thursdays and Sunday mornings at the school for classes.  

“So far, it’s raised my score quite a bit.  My score was a 1340 at first and now it’s a 1370 and it’s going up from there,” Vida said.  “It is helping a lot.  The hours aren’t too bad and it’s making a difference.”

Not all students prepare for this test in this way, however.  Students like Michaela Fullerton ‘18 study at home, using a SAT preparation book.  

“I have a SAT prep book that goes over all the concepts that are on the test for the different sections and I’m using that to study,” Fullerton said.  “Colleges look closely at your SAT scores along with other factors to determine whether or not they want to admit you to their college so the scores you get are very important.”

With similar reasoning in mind, Chiara Robinson ‘18 completes the school-recommended practice through Khan Academy in order to achieve a high test score.  

“It’s something to show schools that you’re not just making your GPA with low classes,” Robinson said.    

No matter what method of studying students employ, Anderson stresses the importance of excellence in the SAT as the test’s scores are utilized in more than just admissions decisions.  

“Many times, a lot of colleges will use SAT scores, like your math subscores and your English to know which class to put you in when you get to college,” Anderson said.   

No matter how each college decides to interpret standardized test scores, they have the ability to benefit students who score well.  Test preparation is a proven method to increase these chances of success.  So join that class, crack that book, and get clicking because the Rock Canyon SAT takes place during the school day on Apr. 11.