Increasing SAT Scores
All I know is that Petya, a straight-A, college-prep curriculum student, scored in the bottom of the barrel on the PSAT last year. Due to the local high school and the College Board claiming that each other had lost his scores, misplaced his scores, had not signed-off on the paperwork that we could receive his scores (for six months and about 100 phone calls and e-mails), we were only able to have him take the SAT in this, the fall of his senior year.
Would the scores be any better than last fall?
According to a Wall Street Journal article, signing up with the major test prep groups, such as Kaplan, usually resulted in anywhere from a 5-point to 30-point increase. Some students using less reputable prep firms actually took very challenging, company-designed pretests which made their SAT scores appear to increase dramatically, but which had no basis in reality. Which meant that the more scrupulous of the prep firms did not always even achieve the double digits in terms of score improvement.
That’s it? Hundreds or thousands of dollars and a number of weeks or months spent in review for a few measly points?
We needed to turbo-charge Petya’s tests, and we needed to do it fast. I had a feeling, confirmed by my consultations with others, that he simply did not understand the “tricky” English of a standardized test.
Never mind the growing numbers of universities which were fast becoming test-optional. Homeschoolers, who were faced with doubtful and dubious admissions counselors already, had high hurdles to jump, many colleges requiring SAT Subject Tests or AP Tests in addition to the SAT or ACT. So the student would basically be exchanging one big standardized test of four-and-a-half hours for a number of smaller, three-hour subject tests.
When it came to the PSAT predicting one’s SAT success, the general rule of thumb was to add a zero onto any PSAT score to make it correlate loosely to what it might become on the SAT. However, everyone understood that the PSAT was easier in general. Then, one had to factor into the equation that a student’s SAT score should theoretically go up with every year of high school.
That’s all we had to look forward to?
If we were going down, it wouldn’t be without a fight-! In researching our options, I came across Veritas Prep, the brain-child of Shaan Patel, a student who taught himself how to improve his SAT score from 1760 to a perfect 2400. (No, this is not a paid endorsement, just a real-life testimonial.)
Petya spent a couple of months with a very affordable online study option. He enjoyed the cool format and explanatory nature of the study sessions. Like any over-scheduled high-schooler, he had limited time for extra study, but squeezed in maybe 2-3 hours per week for 2-3 months prior to the test. I would have preferred an hour a day, but, that didn’t happen.
Not bad, similar to those who receive private, professional tutoring for months on end. Yet, we’re not stopping there.
Our latest strategy is to buy Patel’s book, “SAT 2400 in Just 7 Steps” which Petya is plowing through with more diligence than his previous prep work. The goal is to take the test in the spring and see how much more he can elevate his score. He’s learning valuable test-taking strategies and challenging himself to go for it.
That, in itself, can make a mother proud.
————-Tags: adoptive parenting blog and the SAT/ACT, connection beween PSAT and SAT, do SAT prep courses help?, does my child know enough English for the SAT?, homeschoolers and SATs, how much can SAT scores improve?, how to raise SAT scores, SAT for ESL students?, SAT prep courses, Shaan Patel and Veritas Prep