It’s SAT season and if there is one thing about working in a Title 1 school, it’s that you get to witness a HUGE disparity when it comes to college test prep.
The fact is, those who can afford to take SAT test prep classes are wise to do so. And the parents of kids in upper-socio-economic communities understand the value of this which is why these test prep programs absolutely thrive. As for the parents in communities such as mine, well… they’d love to be able to offer their kids the best (I never doubt their desires to do so) but quite frankly, it’s exceedingly rare that they have the $1,000 (or even more; these classes cost big bucks) needed to spend on stuff like Kaplan, Princeton Review and what not.
I mean, check it out. Kaplan offers “Premier Tutoring for $3,999”. You think a kid with parents who can afford this kind of test prep for their child isn’t at a distinct and very real advantage over a kid who can’t even afford to sign up for the faceless, online test prep Kaplan offers for around $300 bucks?
If you know anything about the SAT, you know that before it’s a test of brains, it’s a test of strategy. Knowing when to guess. Knowing when to move on. Knowing how the test will be scored, knowing the “tricks” and “tips” and so on. To walk in cold without this knowledge is to set yourself up for having your clock cleaned. Parents with money can buy this “How to crack the test” knowledge for their kids (cracking the test is a big slogan in the test prep industry) while parents without cash are often left scrambling to even pay for the SAT registration fees.
It absolutely feeds into the conversation about social justice, iniquity in education and the Achievement Gap. Kids at my school simply cannot afford top quality test preparation and that puts them at a tremendous disadvantage when it comes to test time.
Like I said, and this is no secret, before the SAT is a test of one’s intellectual aptitude, it’s a test of one’s ability to know how to navigate the test in order to manipulate the scoring methodology to the test-taker’s best advantage.
This is also why I offer over 50 FREE pages of SAT prep on my website. Because I don’t believe money should be the reason that a kid can’t fare well on the SAT if they are willing to put in the elbow grease. Now, do I compete with a $4,000.00 price tag? Of course not. But I do empower people to have the ability to use some good ol’ fashioned “roll up their shirt sleeves and get to work” self-empowerment to even the playing field… and I do it at absolutely no charge.
- No fee.
- No sign up with your email and I’ll spam you to death for the next 1,000 years. (Trust me, I don’t have time.)
- Just free as in free. All I am trying to do is level the playing field a bit.
Again, here’s the resource — click on the link on the left under Free Resources and pass it on.
Below are some tips for all test takers. (You can owe me the 4,000 smackers… LOL! But it is amazing how folks are just being absolutely FLEECED isn’t it? I mean why don’t our public schools, if the SAT is so important — and it certainly is for college bound kids — offer free SAT courses instead of allowing the corporate behemoths to drink from the wallets of the rich parents while the poor kids get shortchanged? Geesh!)
Tips ALL Students Must Know for Success on the SAT
- Do NOT answer every question.
- There is a PENALTY for guessing – if a question is too difficult, the best strategy is to move on and use your time to solve questions that are more within your reach.
- NOTE: The #1 biggest pitfall of ALL students on the SAT is that they attempt to answer too many questions. Skipping super difficult problems is a very critical strategy for success.
- Use the process of elimination.
- Get rid of wrong answers. 80% of the answers are wrong on the test – wrong answers are much easier to identify because they are much more abundant.
- Read the questions carefully.
- Do not make assumptions. Answer what is being asked of you.
- Identify “key” words.
- Key words clue you in to correct answers. Context is critical to unlocking answers on the SAT.
- Underline “key” information in the reading passages.
- Studies show that one common theme of students who score well on the SAT is that they mark up their test with notes.
- Refer back to the reading passages as needed.
- Flipping back and forth on the critical reading section is a strategy.
- Read each answer choice completely.
- Don’t be afraid to re-read information (and test questions) to aid comprehension.
- Do not be afraid of unfamiliar words.
- Strive to get a feeling for unknown words and see if they have a sense of being positive, negative or neutral in tone. Use this knowledge to help “crack” the answer.
- Know your grammar!