The SAT is perhaps the most important test for Seniors and Juniors as it practically defines their collegiate future. Yet, over the years, APB has failed to acknowledge the importance of this test. Perhaps, this is why APB’s SAT scores are extremely low (according to Niche.com we are 300 points below the national average) Perhaps, this is why we fail to send many students to high caliber universities. Perhaps, this is why we bragged about one student getting into Stanford for over 5 years. And perhaps this is why many Juniors are upset with the SAT prep they receive. Overall, many Juniors agree, including myself, that our SAT prep course has to dramatically change if we wish to increase our scores and be admitted to more respected universities.
The SAT is a very important college admissions that is taken by high school juniors and seniors all over the country on the same days. Specifically, these scores are of great importance to high school upper-class students as colleges look at these schools to determine whether they will accept a student or not. In short, the SAT can determine whether you get accepted into Harvard or Cal State LA, respectively
Unlike many other tests, the SAT is hated by students all over the world because it tests logical approaches to questions rather than skills learned in school. In fact, the math on the SAT never passes Algebra 2 level. So even if you have had a 4.0 GPA all your life, a kid with a 2.0 can score higher than you.
However, this year the SAT has undergone a huge makeover. Specifically, the new SAT has a Critical Reading and Writing section and Math section. The big changes lay in the fact that the SAT essay is now optional and that the Math section is divided into two sub-sections: calculator and no calculator. Also, students will no longer be penalized for wrong answers like in the past where a wrong answer deducted one fourth of a point. Among other less important changes, there is the fact that test is not the same length, vocabulary questions have been removed, and etc.
Before diving into the problems (mostly) and strengths of 11th grade test prep one should keep in my mind a few things. The current, junior year SAT prep consists of a College Spring workbook (main source of preparation) and online practice problems on Khan Academy (extra practice).
Many have agreed that Khan Academy is good, realistic prep for the SAT, while College Spring is not.
“College Spring is okay for re-learns, like quick notes,” said David Martinez a Junior at APB. Regarding Khan Academy, David said that it helps him identify what he has to work on and lets him do so.
However, some juniors think that the College Spring prep is not actually
helping them at all.
“There are little to few questions in College Spring that can be applied to the actual SAT”, said Mitchelle Aguilar (junior), “I haven’t learned anything new and neither have my classmates.” Similarly, Priscilla Hernandez, a junior, states, “I don’t feel as if I have prepared for anything.” Specifically, both juniors said that problems in College Spring are too simple and not parallel to the real SAT. However, when asked about Khan Academy, both Mitchelle and Priscilla agreed that this prep was more realistic and challenging.
Despite similar responses, both of these juniors had different idea on how the SAT prep could be improved. Mitchelle said that if SAT preparation was given since freshmen year, our scores would increase. On the other hand, Priscilla stated separating test prep classes by levels (low, medium, and high scores) would improve students’ scores. In fact, these are the two most common suggestions given by APB juniors.
Evidently, it is a fact that College Spring SAT prep has been use
less and inefficient to many juniors so far. Thus, change in this preparation is necessary if we wish to increase student scores. Surprisingly, however, Khan Academy (the extra practice) is what is actually efficient in resembling the SAT.
Though the juniors are not content with their College Spring experience so far, seniors who took the course last year have a completely different opinion than juniors.
One of these seniors, Jordy Rodriguez, said he learned a lot from the program as his class was separated by diagnostic test scores and that the problems in their workbook were good practice (things lacking in the current course). Nevertheless, one drawback Jordy recalled was that the diagnostic scores from College Spring were not accurate.
“Most of the time, for myself, the scores I received were much higher than what I got on the real SAT,” said Jordy.
As shown by Jordy, College Spring prep has changed in many aspects and is very different from what it was a year ago. This maybe due to the new SAT or maybe because College Spring has simply decided to change its course. However, one thing is for certain. College Spring has failed to do anything it did last year.
Like students most teachers their own view on APB’s SAT prep and its strengths and areas that need to be improved.
“I think College Spring is rather elementary, in the beginning,” Miguel Sandoval (English SAT prep teacher) said, “more advanced students could benefit more from doing work from a test prep booklet.” Yet, Sandoval recognized College Spring is good review and teaches students skills important for the SAT.
In terms of math SAT training, Sean Griffin said College Spring has done a decent job, considering the college admissions examination was completely redesigned. However Griffin did go onto praise Khan Academy by saying, “I think that is going to be very useful because students are coming in at different levels and the program adapts to students.”
Regardless if our school’s SAT prep changes or improves, it is important to note that we, as students, are privileged to even have any test preparation, considering the sudden redesign of the SAT. Even more incredible, having test prep that is free and done during school. Thus, I sincerely applaud our school’s work to provide us with this rare resource of College Spring and Khan Academy.
Overall, it is obvious that both students and teachers realize that College Spring has been too simple and unproductive as compared to Khan Academy which has gathered critical acclaim. But as of now, all juniors can do is wait and see if College spring unfolds differently than how it has started and begins to teach students useful skills or if it continues to be a waste of time for many juniors.