Like it or not, standardized test scores play a very important role in college admission decisions. While arguments abound about whether or not the SAT accurately measures a student’s chance of success in college or even appropriately tests what they learned in high school, this doesn’t change the fact that you are going to have to take them.
There is no need to panic, but there is absolutely a need to study – how well you prepare can be a determinant to how well you score. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to make sure you are ready to hit your best score (practice books, online courses, practice tests), but one tool that is available for students serious about landing a great score are SAT prep classes.
We believe an SAT prep class could benefit all students, but the decision ultimately rests with the individual; some people may benefit more than others from the structured environment and there are several factors to consider.
Should I spend my summer at an SAT prep class?
Well, certainly not your whole summer! But, you are going to have to study for the SATs sometime, so just avoiding a prep class isn’t going to get you off the hook.
Prep classes are incredibly dense and efficient, making the best use of your summer hours. In this way, your time is actually better spent than aimlessly looking through a study book on your own – this can give you more time focus on other things you enjoy more.
Professional instructors not only know all the tips and tricks for you, but also how to structure classes in order to best leverage their experience. They use proven methods to ensure you are ready in every aspect for the test.
Is it better to study for the SATs by myself?
This is a personal decision which you (or your parents) will need to make the final decision. We know all students have their own learning styles, strengths, weaknesses and preferences. Students that are better visual than auditory learners may believe they would be better off spending their time independently studying, and that may be the case.
There are a few distinct benefits to joining an SAT prep class:
- Setting aside time to study – when you are studying on your own, no matter how fastidious you are, it is sometimes harder to maintain your focus – especially in the summer!
- It is easier to simulate a ‘real’ test environment when you have a tutor to help time and ‘proctor’ the practice exam sections.
- For many students, the knowledge isn’t the issue, it is the actual test taking – it can be very psychologically challenging. Taking a prep class will help you build your confidence, which is incredibly important in order to relax and score your best.
- A good tutor or instructor has experience with hundreds of students and years of SATs to reflect on – this type of nuance is incredibly important when you are stretching to reach a higher score.
If I already took the SATs should I still take an SAT prep class?
Most college admissions officers recommend taking the SAT at least twice, since the higher of the scores can be used for college admissions. If you have taken the test once, but are planning on taking it a second time, an SAT prep class this summer may still be a good decision for you.
If, for example, your score was near the upper percentiles but you plan on applying to schools in the top tier, you may want to consider taking a prep class to see if you can squeeze out a few extra points. Students admitted to Harvard, for example, have an average SAT score of around 1520 (out of 1600). Even a 20 or 30 point overall bump on your second try could make a huge difference in your admission chances at one of these competitive universities.
If you feel you didn’t score well at all on the first attempt, don’t worry! Sometimes the nerves and unexpectedness of the test make it difficult. Taking an SAT Prep class may be a great way to gain some confidence and focus on the weaknesses in your first SAT result.
What to expect in the JKCP SAT prep class:
JKCP offers a prep class as part of our Enrichment program; we have some of the best professional SAT tutors with loads of experience teaching for the SATs. With a great tutor, you can expect to be taught not only the math, reading and writing concepts for the test, but also background explanations of the test and advanced strategies. They will work with you on what types of questions to expect and how to handle them. Using historical references, you will learn to pinpoint the structure of questions and the formats that are typically used.
Throughout the course, practice tests will be administered for practice as well as identification of what areas may need to be focused on. Students will also be set up with studying and practicing strategies so that after the prep class has ended, they can continue to improve their skills and study efficiently.
Our small class size ensures the tutors meet each student where they are and customizes strategies based on the individual. Another benefit compared with self-studying is that our tutors can objectively analyze your strengths and where you need to focus – they are great at identifying these spots and helping you focus on your weaknesses to make sure you maximize your score.
JCKP SAT Prep Class as part of Enrichment
Our prep class is offered inside of our Enrichment program. Within this format, students can choose from a long list of options of classes to take in the morning session and then take SAT Prep Class in the afternoon session.
This means if you are planning on taking the ACTs, you could actually take ACT Prep in the morning and SAT Prep in the afternoon. Or, if that doesn’t seem to sound like an ideal summer week, you could follow the work hard/play hard mentality. You could start the day off with something like Cooking, Robotics, Tennis or Economics in the morning and then SAT Prep in the afternoon. The beauty is in the flexibility this offers and you can find a list of all of our morning classes here. Each week students can configure a different schedule for both the morning and afternoon classes, if they so choose.