By Sarah Cen ‘18 and Stella Ni ‘18
As the college-planning phase begins for juniors, they have to start thinking about enhancing their GPAs, getting teachers’ recommendation letters, and taking college admission exams such as the SAT and ACT. For the first time, the free SAT will be administered by the city on April 5 for juniors.
April 5 is a citywide SAT day, similar to the PSAT day given to sophomores and juniors last year. A free Scholastic Assessment Test will be offered to most juniors in New York City. They are given the opportunity to use this SAT test as a baseline if they have never taken it before. For others, it could be a chance to receive a higher score.
“I think it’s a really good thing that the city is doing this,” said Ms. Lorrie Director. “It creates access for all students to have the opportunity to take the SAT without the money barrier.”
According to Ms. Marguerite Allen, all juniors are required to take the SAT on April 5. They are automatically registered and programmed for it. If a student does not show up for the exam, no score will appear for that student.
“I think that Midwood offering the free SAT can push more students to take the SAT,” Shanjida Kamal ‘18 said. “Also I believe that with this opportunity, juniors can get a sense of what they need to improve on and prepare themselves for another SAT they plan on taking in the future.”
However, the free SAT does not include the essay. Since March 2016, the new version of the SAT replaced the old version. Instead of the writing section of the new exam, the revised SAT offers an optional essay. Most CUNYs and SUNYs are not focusing heavily on the essay portion of the exam. If a student is interested in a particular college, he or she should research the requirements for that school. For those who want to take the essay part of the exam, they should consider taking the exam multiple times.
According to Ms. Director, the bell schedule for April 5 is not yet confirmed. It is a regular school day that requires all students in attendance, just like previous PSAT days the schools has held in the past.
Ms. Kendra Lane said, “I would recommend students take the SAT at least twice to get the super score.”
Students have the option to take the SAT multiple times. It’s the student’s responsibility to send all required information to colleges, including their SAT scores. Super scoring allows students to decide which scores to send to colleges. Colleges consider your highest scores for both the Math and English sections; so rather than confining your scores to one from a particular date, super score allow students to send in their highest score in each section, forming the highest composite score. The super score will be the grade that colleges see on the application.
For students who need a hand with studying, there are many resources and material that can help improve skills.
“Private SAT preparation courses are definitely a great way to assist some students who feel like they need extra help,” said Ms. Lane. “However, you have to be focused when you’re there. The intensity of the study session plays a great part in preparing you for the SAT.”
Students can also find a lot of resources to study for the SAT/ACT online. Companies such as Khan Academy, the College Board, Princeton Review, Kaplan, have practice questions offered online and in books.
“I use Khan Academy to prep for the SAT,” Yumeily Oviedo ‘18 said. “I find it very helpful because it has actual tests from College Board and it helps pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses.”
After the April SAT, there are two more exams during this school year, one in August, and a few in the fall. Students should think accordingly and plan ahead to study and prepare for these exams.
“You gain experience each time you take the SAT. You learn from your strengths and your weaknesses, and improve on the next test,” said YuQian Zheng ‘17. “It trains your time management skills and you can expect to score higher each time.”