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when should a student start prepping for SAT

CaraBirrCaraBirr 0 replies1 threads New Member
edited November 3 in Parents Forum
How soon should my HS sophomore start prepping for SAT?
edited November 3
23 replies
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Replies to: when should a student start prepping for SAT

  • Groundwork2022Groundwork2022 2354 replies45 threads Senior Member
    I would say start prepping after finishing Algebra 2, but also when you and your student feel s/he is ready. Go earlier if you think you'll want multiple sittings, if you're trying for selective schools and/or need a certain score for financial aid.

    To us, high school doesn't seem like it will get any less busy or less difficult, so the summer between sophomore and junior year seems a reasonable time to squeeze in a test prep class. Your schedule may vary, depending on what math class your student is in and his/her readiness.
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 7636 replies61 threads Senior Member
    My D started the summer between sophomore and junior year.
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  • Groundwork2022Groundwork2022 2354 replies45 threads Senior Member
    Sorry, need to add that having some pre-calculus is helpful for the SAT.
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  • 4gsmom4gsmom 767 replies26 threads Member
    My daughter started January of her junior year to take the March SAT in school. She was one and done.
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  • helpingmom40helpingmom40 89 replies5 threads Junior Member
    My daughter started in late spring of her sophomore year as she was prepping for her Algebra 2 final. She worked through the summer and was prepared for PSATs in October of her junior year and quickly followed up with the next 3 sequential SAT testing dates, which were all scheduled well in advance so she knew there was a “plan”. It worked well for her and she ended up surpassing her target score. She is a senior and has friends scrambling to do prep and get applications done now...
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  • MWolfMWolf 1708 replies11 threads Senior Member
    tdy123 wrote: »
    For the English section, the best prep is voracious and omnivorous reading.

    Never to early start.

    For math - working hard at challenging math classes.

    She can also do the PSAT 10 - there is an indication that the more actual tests in real test conditions as student does, the better they do on their tests. Also, even if she hasn't learned the test material, understanding how the PSAT/SAT questions relate to the material helps them use that material in later tests. My kid did not really prep for the SAT, except to do a couple of sample tests and questions, but did pretty well, because she took PSAT 10 twice, and then the PSAT/NMSQT before she took the SAT.

    In essence, since the SATs are just testing the knowledge that a kids has retained, a kid really does not have to learn anything new for the tests. The kids just needs to learn how to retain knowledge, and how to utilize the knowledge for SAT tests.

    Most kids who get a 1300 on the SAT in their sophomore year are actually doing very well, especially if it's their first time taking the test in "real" test conditions.

    Again, the only types of SAT prep that are truly needed are learning how the tests work, so that they can utilize the knowledge they already have, and learn how to budget time and control anxiety levels. There are many kids with SATs that are low, compared to their GPAs (e.g., 3.95 UW GPA with a 1330 SAT), since many smart kids do badly on their SATs due to anxiety, not fully understanding how the test works, not able to budget time well, or they simply work relatively slowly, and the SAT is timed.

    The most successful SAT prep work on test taking strategies and explaining the logic behind the test questions, not trying to teach the material to students.
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  • makemesmartmakemesmart 1605 replies14 threads Senior Member
    Are your DC a potential recruited athlete? If the answer is yes, then it is good to have the SAT/ACT done by the beginning of their junior year.
    But even if the answer is no, starting prep during the summer of sophomore (as a rising junior) is not bad, as you get ready for PSAT (for potential NMS) along the way.
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  • RichInPittRichInPitt 1149 replies16 threads Senior Member
    Yes, never too early to start. The question is the level of intensity of prep.

    Example - my D first took the SAT in 7th grade, as part of a talent search. This got her familiar with the test format, types of questions and, with the QAS service, the ability to see correct answers where she got questions wrong. She took it again late In 8th.

    I think this early exposure allows the concepts, process, etc., to sink in over time. Already being a Sophomore, there aren’t and “free, doesn’t count’ testing opportunities, so I would take one of the practice tests now to get that familiarity. Then, use the diagnostics from Kahn and do light practice on an ongoing basis.

    With that, I’d ramp up prep about 6 months before the planned test date, and then really focus over the final 6-8 weeks. I like to have the initial test be in the fall of Jr year, giving the free time in the summer to study.
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  • jmnva06jmnva06 771 replies7 threads Member
    Based on my personal experience and the experience of my kids, you can prep someplace between 1-2 days before and be totally fine. Any more than that you are showing cramming ability and not real ability
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  • mathmommathmom 32461 replies159 threads Senior Member
    My kids also seemed to think a day or two of prep was enough. My older son did take a prep course in order to practice essay writing. His scores barely budged. The writing score remained exactly the same. Both my kids are avid readers and did extremely well on the verbal part. (My oldest had read or reread over 100 books for pleasure over the course of a year.)
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  • RichInPittRichInPitt 1149 replies16 threads Senior Member
    jmnva06 wrote: »
    Based on my personal experience and the experience of my kids, you can prep someplace between 1-2 days before and be totally fine. Any more than that you are showing cramming ability and not real ability

    I suspect the vast majority of students would rather have the higher score that College Board confirms comes with preparation.
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  • helpingmom40helpingmom40 89 replies5 threads Junior Member
    D20 worked with a private tutor, started in late spring of 10th grade to boost final grade in Algebra 2. She spent an hour a week one-on-one plus an hour or two doing review/practice tests on her own in addition to her regular math homework. She improved over 250 points between her initial PSAT 10 and her final SAT 19 months later in addition to boosting her GPA. She knew what she needed to get for the colleges she was looking at and surpassed her target. I don’t think she would have been able to do that in 1-2 days.
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  • svlab112svlab112 600 replies7 threads Member
    My younger two took a mock test under “test” conditions sophomore year without prep.

    Both had Algebra II as freshman and precalc as sophomores. They scored around 25-27.

    Private tutor 1x per week for 6-8 weeks and test in June of Sophomore year. Scored 29 and 30. 29 said he struggled with timing.

    Retook without prep sometime Junior year. 29 increased to 35, 30 increased to 33.
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  • MWolfMWolf 1708 replies11 threads Senior Member
    It depends on the person My D19 did no more than a couple of practice tests between her tests and her scores increased by 250 points between her first PSAT 10 and her SATs, mostly from doing PSAT 10 twice, and the PSAT/NMSQT. It was about focusing on her studies a lot more, increased maturity, and mostly about the classes that she took between the tests.

    Between the first PSAT 10 and the PSAT/NMSQT she finished pre-calc and Honors English with an absolutely amazing teacher (increase of 180 pts). Between then and the SAT, she finished a creative writing workshop over the summer, the first semesters of AP Calc BC and of AP English Lit.
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  • NCKrisNCKris 259 replies1 threads Junior Member
    If you meant, targeted Test prep classes, then summer before junior year is ideal, which will help for PSAT in the fall.
    Reading for fun (anything) helps a lot, and for math, they should be done with Algebra and Precalc.

    I don't think that doing prep too early adds any value.
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  • atomomatomom 4681 replies41 threads Senior Member
    Any time.
    Next summer at the latest.
    Get the Official SAT Study Guide and use it to prep for the PSAT.
    Getting very familiar with the types of questions on the test is the key. Do not worry about having finished a particular math class. Just learn to do the problems on the test. (I do SAT/ACT prep. I have some 7th-9th graders going through practice tests. I also have 12th graders starting to prep for the Dec. test now...)
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  • ja;sldkjfja;sldkjf 18 replies0 threads Junior Member
    FIrst ask yourself if the test prep is necessary. What were PSAT scores? My children had them in 9, 10, and 11 grade. All the scores were within 100 points of each other. We didn't do any prep. Ivy/Elite schools were never going to be a consideration. Outside of bragging rights, higher scores weren't necessary.

    Remember too, you don't need to pay for a class for prep. Every library has the test prep books, or you could buy them , or your high school may provide access to Khan Academy or something.
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  • usma87usma87 382 replies3 threads Member
    ^^^^Completely agree. In the dark ages when I was taking the SAT, I scored 'ok' on the first try. Then, went through Kaplan for 8 weeks. Improved slightly. My saving grace was superscore of the ACT.

    Fast forward to my DSx3. It was different for all three. They used a combination of practice tests and online tutoring as needed. For my twins, one studied a ton - 1550. His brother barely cracked the study guide - 1510. The only solid answer is - it depends on the kid and their (not your) goals.
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  • ChaosParent23ChaosParent23 498 replies29 threads Member
    Mine was never able to squeeze it in but he did alright. I really liked the way his JHS prepared interested kids. Every spring they offered a free PSAT testing to anyone who wanted to take it. It was a very low pressure, let's see how you do. All 3 years, our S had the highest score of his grade but showed that his math splits weren't nearly in line w/ his verbals.

    That was such key info for us!! And for that alone, I always rec'd sitting a test as early as possible. We were able to get him some very quick tutoring before he even got to HS. He was able to successfully complete HS in a subject he saw a merely a means to an end. And while his math splits never reached his verbals, he got them to the point that he felt good about them.
    Since he sat the PSAT at such a young age, and knew how valuable it could be, he went ahead and sat the first real SAT and ACT in the spring of his Freshman year. Now, he didn't do all that great, but that wasn't the point. It was just having the experience of knowing what to expect for later down the road as well as showing a few areas that could use some attention.
    He took the SAT one more time the following year, and then concentrated on the ACT thereafter. I believe he took the ACT a total of 4 times, but once was a free sitting mandated by the high school in the spring of his Junior year. Fall senior year he finally reached his goal without any additional test prep.
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