High GPA, test scores stink

Not sure if there is any constructive feedback that can be given so this may just be more of a vent.

My daughter has a 3.98 UW GPA at a “solid” public HS in PA. She takes primarily honors classes with a few college prep and this year (Junior) 2 AP. First quarter she has 102.

Problem is she can’t seem to click with the SAT. At all.

She’s into session 5 with a virtual prep class and isn’t feeling any more confident. I am open to private tutoring but I struggle to understand how she can master H Alg 2 and H Pre Calc and score a 540 on math.

Her prep instructor says the SAT has nothing to do with how you do in school. “You’ve learned how to be rewarded there, but haven’t learned yet how to be rewarded here”

Anyone else struggle with this? Tips to share, advice other than to pray test optional stays for ‘22 :slight_smile:

Has she tried a sample ACT? It may be just different enough to make a difference.

We worked with a private tutor to work on math in general and it was helpful because they worked together to identify holes in her learning. While it was helpful, generally speaking, she did get to a point where the tutor didn’t think there was much room for improvement. Some kids just don’t test well but we found targeted, individual work was helpful in evaluating where growth was possible and when it wasn’t.

@helpingmom40 Thank you. We do have a sample ACT test her tutor gave her and plan to do that over Thanksgiving break to see how it goes. We’re keeping our fingers crossed this Dec SAT test doesn’t get cancelled and see how she does and reevaluate from there. Plan B is to attack the ACT. I appreciate your feedback, thank you.

I agree with the suggestion to try the ACT. Neither of my kids did well on the SAT but both scored high on the ACT.

I also think a practice ACT is worth a try.

If not, I’d focus on schools that are Test Optional. There are plenty that were before Covid and probably some schools that have adopted TO for this cycle will keep it.

@tumagmom I know it isn’t the direct answer to your question but are you sure the SAT or ACT will be part of the evaluation criteria for your daughter next year? My son worked hard studying for the SAT and ultimately only one school he applied to (out of 10) will even look at those scores. Perhaps she already knows where she’s applying and is certain they require test scores.

@nucities Yes we are definitely considering that. I think it’s anyone’s guess as to whether schools will stay TO for 2022 admission. Additionally, she is interested in direct admit nursing programs…I know at Pitt, they are not TO for this program even though the general admission does not require scores.

I agree I wish we knew whether we needed to pour energy and stress (and money) into this.

Agree if she is targeting direct nursing she is going to need a score for many programs.

She is taking pre-calc right now?

I concur with the rest to try the ACT.

Does her HS offer any test prep courses? If not, I would recommend she take one outside HS…and if private tutoring is in the budget, I would do at least a few sessions. There are many tips and tricks to taking these tests, and practice is key.

Stop group test prep classes immediately. They are a waste of money. A private tutor will cost the same and will be able to pinpoint where she is having trouble.

Many of my students took group sessions before they came to me. The problem with group classes is that they simply show you what will be on the test and give basic strategies. Some prep is better than none, but a group test prep tutor is not going to be able to show YOUR child what individual mistakes she makes.

She can also try the ACT. Many students prefer the straightforward format of the ACT to the SAT. The ACT is tighter on time, but it might just be a format that works better for her. (FWIW, my own kid scored 790 on the math section of the SAT, but only 31 on the ACT. He preferred the SAT format.) ACT math does go to a higher level of math also, and has no non-calculator section. I suggest your daughter try a practice ACT to see if she prefers it.